Internet scams, phishing emails on the rise
Published: Monday, January 9, 2012
Updated: Friday, June 15, 2012 22:06
The FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center reported that 552 complaints were received from Ohio residents who reported being victims of an Internet scam last month, and 236 of those reported a monetary loss.
"These criminals just want money," Mike DeWine, Ohio Attorney General, told The Lantern.
DeWine said there are many different types of Internet-based scams.
One of the more popular scam artist techniques is called "The Grandparent Scam," DeWine said.
"A girl by the name of Sarah calls and acts like she is the grandchild of the victim," DeWine said. "The grandparent gets fooled and transfers money to her."
Harry Trombitas, a special agent from the FBI, said there are many Internet scams that go unreported.
"There is not enough man power to handle every single scam case," Trombitas said.
Trombitas said because of the nature of Internet crimes, it can be hard for the FBI to investigate all reports.
"If, for example, Joe loses $700 … it is hard to investigate that crime," Trombitas said.
Trombitas also said many of these Internet crimes originate in other countries.
"Some victims might be part of a case that evolved outside of the country," Trombitas said. "Countries that have a good relationship with the U.S. help us work identifying these criminals, but in other countries it becomes harder."
Trombitas said the exact amount of people that are victims of an Internet scam is unknown, especially if it goes unreported.
"The Internet Crime Complaint Center is not the only place to file cybercrime cases," Trombitas said. "There are other agencies where people can file complaints."
Julie Talbot-Hubbard, chief information security officer at Ohio State, said students are also victims of Internet scams and phishing attacks.
"With the current threat landscape, students are most vulnerable to social engineering attacks that trick them into revealing their personal information," Talbot-Hubbard said.
Talbot-Hubbard said the office of the CIO provides security awareness training, and offers free anti-virus solutions for students.
"We saw an increase of 400 (phishing) scams in 2011 from 2010," Talbot-Hubbard said.
However, some students at OSU said they don't feel like spam and phishing attacks are a problem.
Brian Scheitlin, a first-year in computer science and engineering, said he is not worried about Internet-based crimes.
"I don't get much spam in my email," Scheitlin said. "Don't fill out surveys online … and you should be good."
Kyle Sattler, a third-year in human nutrition, said OSU does a good job of informing students of Internet threats.
As far as people who have been ‘scammed' or ‘tricked,' Sattler said that "(students) should be smarter about it and don't believe everything emails say."