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The alarming reality of digital fraud 2020 and beyond

Fraud and theft is a crime almost as old as time. If you go with the Biblical sense, fraud was the first crime, as the serpent fraudulently claimed the “forbidden fruit” would lead to godhood. Fooling people with false information has certainly moved up a notch since then, from when deception was purely based on words.

In the digital age, cyber-thieves and fraudsters turn to compromise vital data and information from their victims to accomplish their sinister goals. The umbrella that covers crimes under digital fraud is wide. There is no one that can be considered safe from these criminals. Whether it is the ordinary person and their personal accounts, or the large companies with vulnerable financial data, all of us are “ripe for the pickings” for these fraudsters.

During 2019, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation reports that its Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received over 460,000 fraud complaints, an average of nearly 1,300 every day and recorded more than $3.5 billion in losses to individual and business victims. The full FBI report can be read here. Meanwhile, in the U.K. a report, by ex-Met Police Deputy Commissioner Sir Craig Mackey, found fraud now accounts for one-in-three crimes - but just 2% are detected. And despite nearly 2,000 fraud offenses being committed daily in England and Wales, just one in 50 is prosecuted.

With how prevalent the crimes of digital fraud are, why has there not been a more concerted effort to curb it from innocent victims? Apparently, there are a few factors: inconsistent reports from victims, lack of action from law enforcement, and insufficient education for the public on digital crimes.

Inconsistent Reporting of Digital Fraud from Victims

One of the major problems with cybercrimes and digital fraud is that victims do not always report their situation. The numbers mentioned earlier are likely to be incomplete, but by how much, there is no way to tell. This situation compounds the already unacceptable status quo regarding internet fraud.

If you are a victim of cybercrimes and digital fraud, do not hesitate to report it to the authorities and any businesses that may be associated with the crime. There is no shame in reporting the crime and it is the only way any action can possibly be taken to catch the thieves, or at the very least help to prevent it from happening again.

Lax Action from Law Enforcement

But what if the problem is a lack of action from the very authorities that should be protecting the public? The problem with digital fraud is bad enough as it is. But if the very same government and private organizations that are supposed to be protecting the masses are not coping, or are discounting how serious of an issue it is then it is no wonder the issue has become as prevalent as it has.

A major example of this is the money laundering controversy that occurred in Europe that involved the Danske Bank. With such wide-scale digital crime being committed and then being treated nonchalantly by the government, how much more the crimes that victimize the average citizenry? Apparently, it is just as bad, if not worse. As reported by the BBC, as low as 1% or about 1 in 50 fraud offenses are investigated to its fruition.

Lack of Education about Digital Fraud

It comes as no surprise that people are often ignorant about the true situation and how bad cybercrimes and digital fraud have become. Perhaps this is an offshoot of the previous two points regarding inconsistent reports of victims and lax actions from law enforcement. Or perhaps it is the reverse, and that this insufficient education is what leads to the other two.

Regardless, there should be a more massive effort to teach people about digital scams and fraudulent activities. The FBI, for instance, has posted a list of the most common internet fraud actions that should be taught to adults and children alike. This list ranges from Data Breaches to Email Account Compromise (EAC), to malware and ransomware. But shouldn't some of these things be taught in our schools/colleges by now?

Protect Yourself against Digital Fraud

Ultimately, it is your personal responsibility to be armed against cybercrime and digital fraud. With how bad the situation is with both education and response, the best course of action at present is prevention. People should educate themselves on what kinds of crimes they should look out for. Do not make it easy for these fraudsters, phishers, and snoops to access your data. One way to accomplish this is to perform consistent data wipes of old devices and hard drives or SSDs. Both ordinary citizens and large enterprises benefit through the use of a data wipe tool like Redkey USB.

Redkey USB is the most effective data erasure tool that is also easy to use. Redkey can be used without any in-depth technical know-how, so no trial and error is involved. Redkey is intuitive and can perform a data wipe where simple re-formats or resets may still leave fragments of data behind.

Learn more about how to secure your old laptop or Macbook before selling it off or the process of data recovery and forensics and other news, information, tips, and suggestions regarding cybersecurity and data protection by visiting the RedKey Blog regularly!