We spend so much time online, it’s easy to forget how vulnerable we are. While many crimes are associated with being out and about, such as muggings, many crimes can occur via computer. Cybercrimes are a real problem that can strike anyone. Should it happen to you, you need to know what to do. Here are four steps to take immediately after a cybercrime.
You need to tell the proper authorities about what happened immediately. Depending on the severity, you might have to contact the FBI as well as your local police. Be clear about what happened and what damage has been wrought already. Make sure that everything you tell them is to your exact knowledge. This is a reason why you need to monitor your information closely. Check your bank account balance every day. If you see suspicious activity, you can report it immediately, before even more serious damage can be done. You should also be honest about how it happened. For instance, it might’ve been a spam email that you opened which turned out to be a phishing scam. It might be embarrassing to admit you fell for this, but it’s still important. You want investigators to know how people are being targeted by cyber criminals.
Install Protective Software
Many cybercrimes, such as hacking, occur due to a lack of security on your computer or another device. To prevent further cyber crimes, you need to have the right kind of software installed. Look for one that is strongly endorsed and that will work with your computer. You also might need to take more extensive measures in order to ensure the sanctity of your computer. You may need to back up and wipe your entire computer, from operating system to hard drive. This might take some time, but it will be for the best. You don’t want these thieves or other criminals to get further into your confidential information. If you have the means to, you might want to buy an entirely new computer. Just make sure that you have the proper software on it, of course.
Did you know there are support networks out there for people who have been affected by cybercrimes? You can call certain hotlines that will put you in contact with the authorities and other important institutions. This will include your bank and other record-keeping officials, such as your local and state government. It can be exhausting, both physically and emotionally, to deal with these matters. However, these trained professionals know all about what you’re going through. They will be here to help you. Every little bit can be a step forward. You should also talk to friends and family about what you’re going through.
Hire a Lawyer
Since this is a criminal matter, you want to make sure you have the proper legal representation. An attorney who specializes in cybercrimes needs to be hired. They’ll be able to help you with fighting your case. If investigators are willing to put in the time necessary, you need to show them how seriously you’re taking this. Research attorneys and tell them how this crime has affected you. You want to be completely honest, of course. By speaking out about what you faced as a cybercrime victim, you could set a precedent. You could give others the same courage to speak out.
Cybercrimes can make us feel incredibly vulnerable. It can be frightening to think about our personal information being within reach of thieves. By following these tips, you can make it through and prevent future ones.
Author Info: Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake. You can find her on Twitter.