CLEVELAND — Ohio is in the top 10 states for the total number of victims across the country who have been targeted with cybercrimes, according the FBI's 2021 Internet Crime Report.
The FBI has a special division called the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) that works to combat cybercrime as well as offer individuals a place to report being the victim of an attack or scam.
The IC3 said it received a record number of complaints in 2021, up 7% from 2020, with businesses and individuals having lost nearly $7 billion across the country.
In the report, the FBI states that the United States "experienced an unprecedented increase in cyber attacks and malicious cyber activity" in 2021.
The attacks have targeted everything from businesses to individual members of the public sitting at home.
Ohio is ranked at No. 7 for the total number of victims who were hit with a cyberattack, the report shows.
Last year, there were 17,510 individuals who fell victim to cybercrime in the Buckeye State.
“I think there’s a couple of reasons for that. One, the age of our population. Two, the fact that we have weather that keeps a lot of people inside for several months of the year and a lot of people that are in front of commuters," said Eric Smith, special agent in charge, Cleveland FBI.
The report details several types of crimes — extortion, identity theft, personal data breach, non-payment/non-delivery and phishing/vishing/smishing/pharming.
Common types of those crimes include confidence fraud/romance scams, cryptocurrency scams, business email compromise schemes and ransomware attacks.
Ohioans who fell victim to cybercrimes have lost more than $133 million. In 2021, the FBI received 5,182 complaints regarding cybercrime in Ohio, the sixth highest in the country — falling only behind Maryland, New York, Florida, Texas and California.
What to do if it happens to you
Smith said there are three things you should do if you think you have been a victim of a cybercrime.
One — Call your bank, two — go https://www.ic3.gov/ to put in your complaint, and three — call the FBI.
“Those three things—if they are done within three days, we have about an 80% chance of getting that money back. So time is absolutely of the essence,” Smith said.
CLICK HERE to read the FBI's full report.
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