3 Things to Do If You Are a Victim of Cybercrime
Ah yes, my favorite topic. Cybercrime. (Can you sense the sarcasm?)
We do our best, but a digital life can put us in harm’s way.
If cybercrime happens to you, it’s important to know what to do and act quickly.
At its best, cybercrime can wreak havoc in your life and cause a major inconvenience. However, at its worst, cybercrime can lead to financial ruin and even threaten your reputation and/or personal safety.
What can you do?
Step 1: Take a deep breath and get perspective.
Cybercrime is a serious conflict and should not be taken lightly. You are at war with cybercriminals, who are absolutely ruthless and move fast to take advantage of their victims.
However, if you act quickly, you can help limit the damage of hacking and get your life back.
The National Cybersecurity Alliance wrote an excellent, free guide on what to do if you become a victim of cybercrime. We strongly encourage you to read through their short 2-page pamphlet. Here is a summary of their main points:
- Cybercrime comes in many forms.
- You should report cybercrime, but you need to report it to different agencies of law enforcement.
- Gather your evidence, both paper and electronic.
- Read through tips on specific types of cybercrime.
- Take preventative measures against all forms of malware.
- Read other websites about how to fight or file a complaint against cybercrime.
Step 2: Let your financial institutions know what happened.
Call your bank, financial advisor, insurance agent, or other providers to alert them of the situation. They might be able to offer you additional advice.
Consider also contacting the credit agencies and putting a fraud alert and in some cases, a credit freeze on future applications for credit in your name. Hackers might attempt to exploit your weakness. They will use your data to fraudulently make credit card applications in your name.
Step 3: Change your accounts with different, more robust passwords.
This might seem obvious, but it’s a crucial step nonetheless. Most of us just don’t do it.
Change the passwords on all of your financial accounts. It’s best to keep personal information out of your passwords, so try adding symbols, numbers, and blank spaces instead.
After the dust settles, be proactive and defend against future attacks.
You can put your life back together after a cyber-attack. However, you also need to think of the future. Take additional defensive measures to make it’s much more difficult for a cybercriminal to hack you in the future.