Cost of cybercrime hits record highs as Utah victims nearly overtake country in losses

The Utahns trust people, maybe too much. New figures shared with KSL investigators show that when it comes to losing money to cyber theft, the Utahns are near the top of the country. (Adobe Stock)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utahns trust people, maybe too much. New figures shared with KSL investigators show that when it comes to losing money to cyber theft, the Utahns are near the top of the country.

“I called you because I was scammed,” Marilyn Smolka said when speaking to KSL.

Smolka believed she was sending money to a friend, who emailed her saying they were stuck in hospital with COVID-19.

It turned out that she had sent the money, worth $ 300, to a con artist who had hacked her friend’s account.

“I can’t believe this happened to me,” Adam Moffat told us.

Moffat believed he was confirming his identity to someone looking to rent out their house by returning a six-digit code. In fact, the code unlocked access to his email account for a cyber crook.

“How could I fall in love with something so stupid?” Melissa Brink lamented when she shared her experience with KSL investigators. “I know better!”

Brink believed she had just paid her utility company $ 50 for a bill. Unfortunately, she was paying a scammer, who then recovered $ 500 from her bank account.

These Utahns, whose stories we’ve been sharing over the past few months, are in good company.

According to FBI data compiled by CCTV Camera World, victims lost a record $ 4.2 billion to cybercriminals in 2020, up from $ 3.5 billion the year before. And the Utahns were near the top of the list, with the average victim losing $ 9,562, making Utah the fifth highest number of cybercrime losses in the country.

Last year, FBI Special Agent Jeffery Collins told KSL that the number of victims of cyberattacks and cybercrime was likely much higher than reported.

“People are embarrassed about it, aren’t they? Collins said. “Who wants to admit that they fell into the trap of such a ploy? “

Best advice: never click links in text messages or emails from people you don’t know, never assume someone calling you is who they say they are and use passwords strong and unique to keep the bad guys out.

The same report shows that the total cost of cybercrime incidents reported to the FBI has increased almost 800% since 2011, from $ 485.3 million to $ 4.2 billion.

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