Today, crime is not limited to what a potential criminal can do in person. There is an entire online space that provides opportunities for malicious actions, and these actions can be more difficult to identify. In the last five years, cybercrimes have increased by 125%, and have cost billions. Cyber attacks don’t just go after corporations; countless individuals have been impacted and had money or data stolen via cybercrimes. As a private investigator, this is a growing field that requires skilled investigators to help. In this article, we will cover what cybercrime is, the types of cybercrime, how to detect a cybercrime threat and share some tips on what to do if you have been a victim of a cybercrime.
What is Cybercrime?
A computer must be involved for a crime to be considered a cybercrime. More specifically, a cybercrime is when a computer is the object of the crime committed or if a computer was used to carry out the crime. Some common cybercrime examples include phishing emails, cyberstalking, and identity theft.
Types of Cybercrime
Cybercrimes are, unfortunately, a common occurrence, so it’s important to know the types of cybercrimes you may encounter while conducting investigations.
Hacking occurs when a criminal gains unauthorized access to data in a network or on a computer. You’ve likely seen this happen with friends or have had it happen to you, as cybercriminals regularly hack social media and email accounts.
Also known as malicious software, malware is a code that disrupts your computer's normal functionality. You’ve probably heard of types of malware that can be illegally installed onto a computer, such as viruses, ransomware, or spyware.
Identity theft occurs when a criminal illegally obtains someone’s personal information and uses it to commit theft or fraud. Though identity theft is not just a cybercrime, it has become more of an issue with the rise of technology and the internet. Many cyber criminals obtain personal information through phishing scams or through hacking databases with personal data.
Social engineering is a more crafty, personal form of cybercrime. Through social engineering, criminals gain the trust of unsuspecting victims to capture the information they can use for personal gain. Sometimes criminals act as customer service reps asking for information such as credit card information, bank details, or your social security number. This can happen on social media, through email, texts, over the phone, or even on dating sites. Once criminals obtain the information they want, they use this to commit theft or fraud.
How to Avoid a Cybercrime Threat
Avoiding cybercrime threats is not an exact science, but there are a few things that you can tell your clients to do to protect themselves and avoid being the victim of cybercrime:
- Avoid going on websites that look suspicious
- Flag and report emails that appear to be phishing emails
- Use a VPN, especially when you’re using your phone or laptop on a public network
- Don’t click on anything that doesn’t look legitimate on a website or in an email
- Download an antivirus software program and make sure to update it regularly
- Use strong passwords for all of your accounts, and do not repeat the same password between accounts
With these tips, clients will put themselves in a much better position to avoid the headache that comes with being the victim of a cybercrime.
What to do if You’ve Been a Victim of Cybercrime
If you or a client has fallen victim to a cybercrime, there are a few steps to follow to prevent further damage. Firstly, immediately close or freeze any affected accounts associated with the cybercrime, and notify the company with which you hold the account. Next, change the passwords of said accounts. Finally, if need be, there are some cases where it’s in your best interest to notify the local authorities.
In today’s online landscape, you must be one step ahead of the curve to keep cybercrime at bay. That’s why NITA offers online courses to help you in your career as a private investigator to help fight cybercrime, including our Cybercrime Risk Assessment course. Check out that course and the others that we offer today!
You might also like:
Our enrollment counselors are here to answer any questions you might have about our state- and board-approved status, pre-licensing training, or professional development programs.