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Florida victims of internet crimes, scams keep rising

Reporter: Rich Kolko
Published: Updated:

It is more important than ever to protect yourself on the internet. Brand new information from the Federal Bureau of Investigation shows cyber crimes are only getting worse.

Around 352,000 people filed a complaint with the FBI last year. That is up more than 50,000 from 2017.

The top three internet crimes reported to investigators in 2018 are non-payment or non-delivery, extortion, and personal data breach.

Compared to other states when it comes to internet crimes, Florida does not do well and is not getting any better, according to WINK News Safety and Security Specialist Rich Kolko.

The outlook is dismal as over 178,000,000 was reported lost in 2018. The victims could be a lot bigger since a lot of people do not file a report.

“Cybercrime is just going to continue to get worse,” said Carrie Kerskie, president of Griffon Force. “And its easier and easier for bad guys. A big rule of thumb we always try to tell people is that do you want privacy or convenience because they don’t live in the same space.”

A lot of the scams have new names, but most are just reinvented versions of previous scams. Knowledge is key. Access the IC3 Report here, which is fascinating to look at.

Florida top state for internet scams

The FBI’s Internet Crime Report is out. Florida is near the top of the list for falling victim to these scams.

The report arrows are all up: more complaints, more scams and more losses. Florida is near the top in both victims and losses. It ranks number three in victims while it is number four in losses. The state is behind California, Texas and New York.

More than $178,000,000 in 2018 has been reported lost in the sunshine state, but those are only the losses reported.

A lot of people do not report the losses as they either think nothing can be done or they are embarrassed to have been a victim. These trends are not likely to stop.

“If you look at the statistics on the IC3 Report, a number of the victims are over age 50,” said Bret Hood, retired FBI special agent. “Fort Myers and Southwest Florida cater to that demographic, so there will always be victims in this section of the world.”

A lot of the crimes start with identity theft. Signs that you may be a victim are unusual or unexplained charges on your bills; phone calls or bills for accounts, products or services that you do not have; failure to receive regular bills or mail; new strange accounts appearing on your credit report; and, unexpected denial of your credit card.