Georgia AG Shares Tips To Protect Against Cyber Crime During Cybersecurity Awareness Month

On Tuesday, Georgia Attorney Chris Carr recognized October as Cybersecurity Awareness Month by highlighting his office’s continued efforts to combat cyber-enabled crime through the work of his Prosecution Division and the Georgia Cyber Fraud Task Force. Carr also shared important tips and resources to help Georgians protect their data and devices from cyber thieves and fraudsters.

“Phishing scams, data breaches, and malware pose very real threats to Georgia businesses and consumers,” said Carr. “Through the work of our Prosecution Division and the Georgia Cyber Fraud Task Force, we’re continuing our efforts to ensure those who enable cyber-fraud schemes are held accountable for their actions. Now more than ever, it’s imperative that Georgians take proactive steps to protect their data and devices, and our office offers a wealth of information to help start that process.”

According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), Georgians lost more than $322 million to cyber-enabled crime in 2022, a press release from Carr’s office noted. Nationally, those losses were $10 billion.

Carr’s Consumer Protection Division shared the following tips for those using technology to protect against cyber crime:

  • Use strong passwords. The longer the password, the tougher it is to crack. Mix letters, numbers and special characters. Don’t use your name, birthdate or pet’s name in your password. Use a different password for each of your accounts so that if one account is hacked, the perpetrator can’t take over all of your accounts. To help you create hard-to-crack passwords and automatically store them and usernames securely, consider using a password manager.
  • Enable multi-factor authentication. Multi-factor or two-factor authentication increases the security of your online accounts by requiring an additional means of verifying your identity beyond your username and password. This could come in the form of a PIN number, security question, facial recognition, fingerprint, or requiring you to enter a code that is texted or emailed to you. Always opt-in if given the choice to set-up multi-factor authentication, particularly for sensitive accounts, such as online banking or retail accounts that store your payment information.
  • Recognize and report phishing. Be wary of clicking on links, opening file attachments or providing sensitive information in response to texts, emails or social media messages, particularly if you don’t recognize the sender, as it could download malware onto your device or place your sensitive information in the hands of a scammer. Being asked to send money is a red flag of a scam. Even if the message appears to come from a person or business you know, refrain from interacting with the message and instead contact the sender through a verified phone number, email address or website. Report phishing attempts to the appropriate authorities or IT department. Most email providers also have an option to report a suspicious email.
  • Update your system and software frequently. Computer and software companies frequently update their programs to include protection against new security threats. Simply updating your operating system and software whenever new versions become available gives you an added measure of security.
  • Be aware of common scams using AI. The use of generative AI to craft a phishing email resolves the formerly tell-tale grammatical or spelling errors that would typically alert a reader to fraud. The use of AI voice cloning can also make phone scams seem all too real. Law enforcement suggests having a family code word to verify identity in the event of an actual emergency – but don’t send this code word via email.
  • Lookout for crypto investment scams promising unrealistic returns. Victims nationwide lost over $3.3 billion to investment scams in 2022, according to IC3.gov data. Much of that was driven by fake investments in cryptocurrency. The scams include an initial promise of modest returns, legitimate looking apps and websites showing those returns, and even the ability to pull out some of the money “gained.” Soon, however, the promised returns are higher and the buy in increases for the victim who is often, by this time in the scam, in a position to trust the scammer and may be in debt. The demands increase until the victim has “invested” everything they have, only to find the website taken down and their “investments” fake. Consumers should research investment opportunities and seek professional guidance, especially if investing in cryptocurrency. If the rate of return sounds too good to be true, it likely is.
D & B Staff

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