According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Report 2021, a record 847,376 complaints of cybercrime were reported to the FBI by the public, a 7 percent increase from 2020. With cybercrime on the rise, it is important to know how it occurs so that you don’t fall victim to it. 

What is cybercrime, exactly?

Cybercrime is the use or assault of a computer network by hackers or other criminals. Some cybercriminals are very skilled technically, well-organized, and use cutting-edge techniques. Threats to the financial or political security of a country or even cyberterrorism are examples of cybercrime, which also encompasses economic, personal, and political attacks on computers.

10 Most Common Types of CyberCrime:

10. Sim Swapping

One of the most common hacking methods is for a hacker to get access to a victim’s mobile device by swapping the sim card on the phone. A sim card is a small chip in a user’s phone that stores data. This sim chip is what allows the phone itself to be operable (call and text). What the hacker will do is call your phone company, and trick them into activating a sim card that is in the hacker’s possession. Once the hacker’s card is activated, they now receive all the text messages and calls that were intended for your phone. Even worse, your know is now inoperable. Now if the hackers try to log into any of your accounts, they can have a password reset code sent to the hacker’s phone. Thus giving them access to all your accounts.

9. Impersonation Scams

The act of fooling strangers into transferring money, making purchases, or disclosing personal information online is known as impersonation. Websites used for social media or dating are always targeted by cyber criminals as users here are quite vulnerable. These hackers will pretend to be someone that is interested socially or romantically in the victim. Over time, they convince the victim to lend them substantial amounts of money or to share other sensitive information that the hacker can use to rob the individual.

8. Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs)

Although they are not necessarily malicious, PUPs are a kind of software that may have certain undesirable characteristics. PUPs are adware that causes problems. PUPs are typically downloaded or added to an individual’s computer when they sign an End User License Agreement. Once on, these PUPs usually monitor a person’s online activities and share them with a third party. Typically, these PUP’s are used for marketing, but they do have the potential for more nefarious purposes.

To identify a PUP, heed the following advice:

  • Check the program’s description as it appears in the app store.
  • Check the menu bar to check whether the program has an icon.
  • Check your computer for unwanted programs.

7. Mirror Websites

A common hacking method is to get victims to unwittingly provide their login credentials directly to the hacker by setting up a “mirror site” that looks identical to the legitimate site. The hackers will often send a text message or email pretending to be one of the victim’s banks stating that “Your account has been compromised” or something urgent. Then at the bottom will be a link where the victim can login and check the status of their account. However, this link will lead to a fake mirror site that looks identical to the company’s legitimate site. When the consumer enters their login information, the hacker is sitting on the other side of the page collecting all of it.

6. Viruses and malware

Any harmful program that is designed specifically to do negative actions on the computer of another person is referred to as malware. These so-called “malware authors” are the ones who produce and disseminate it. Malware, which is one of the most invasive types of assaults, may be harmful executable files or scripts buried in web pages, among other things. Once installed, Malware can collect your sensitive information like usernames and passwords or even block your ability to access your own files on your computer.

5. Social engineering

Social engineering is the practice of preying on people’s vulnerabilities to get access, information, or any other kind of access to confidential information. Cybercriminals may target employees by socially engineering them into giving personal information over the phone, or they may target employees to get passwords, bank account numbers, and other sensitive financial data.

4. Phishing Emails

Phishing emails are emails that are sent to a potential victim in which the hacker pretends to be a legitimate entity. In the email, the hacker will try to get the individual to click a link or download an attachment. Once clicked or downloaded, functions will run on the victim’s computer that allow the hacker to gather the user’s information. The majority of the time, scammers will send you an email stating that your email account has been stolen and asking you to click on a link within it for one last “password verification.”

3. Customer Service Impersonation

Another popular method that hackers use to gain access to your computer is by impersonating Microsoft or Amazon customer support. These fraudsters will pretend to be a legitimate entity and claim that in order to resolve the technical issues, the victim needs to download a remote access software called “AnyDesk”. Once the victim downloads this software and gives the fraudster remote access to the computer, the fraudster will black out the victims’ screen so they can not see what the fraudster is doing. Then the fraudster will go through the computer and download the victim’s files, as well as go into banking apps or websites to see if the victim is still logged in. If the victim is logged in, the hackers will start transferring money out of the victim’s accounts to other accounts that the hackers are also in.

2. Internet Harassment

A subcategory of cybercrime known as “cyberstalking” comprises following a target online, through email, or via other electronic activities. According to a 2011 poll by the National Cyber Security Alliance, 77% of victims of cyberstalking claimed interference in the workplace or missing work time out of fear. It may be difficult to detect cyberstalking. Victims often know who the perpetrator is because they have previously spoken with them through social media, emails, texts, and other conversations.

1. Botnets

A botnet is a kind of cybercrime in which an attacker takes over several computers and links them together to engage in malicious activity. Botnets may end up infecting hundreds or even millions of devices due to the attacker’s frequent geographic location, making it challenging to stop these crimes. If a botnet breaches a company’s defenses and seizes control of its systems, the company could suffer financial damages. Businesses could have to pay money to undo the damage the botnet caused. Such companies that are not able to maintain their cyber risks, often have a data breach and such breach can cost them a humongous amount of money.

How can cybercrime be stopped?

An effective strategy for combating cybercrime is to enroll yourself in cybercrime training courses that allow you to understand the nuances of the above types of hacks so that you don’t fall victim to them. Also, you can pay for virus monitoring programs that will monitor your computer systems regularly to make sure that you do not have any viruses.

What should I do if I am already a victim of cybercrime?

If you are already the victim of a cybercrime and have been robbed of money, then you likely already know that banks blame the victim and refuse to return the money. However, with the help of a consumer protection attorney, you will likely be able to get your stolen money back at no out-of-pocket cost to you. Consumer protection attorneys, like those at Barthel Legal, dedicate their careers to helping victims of cybercrime work with the bank to get their money back when banks refuse to help.

If you are a victim of cybercrime and need help, click here for a FREE consultation today!