Study shows most Americans believe they will fall victim to cybercrime or identity theft

Study shows most Americans believe they will fall victim to cybercrime or identity theft

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - We are more reliant on technology than ever these days, and we’re all connected one way or another. No matter how tech-savvy you think you may be, experts say anyone is at risk for falling victim.

A recent study by ERP Maestro found out of the 2,000 Americans they surveyed, 76 percent believe they’ll fall victims to identity theft or cybercrime sometime in their life. Out of that number, nearly half say they aren’t even concerned about it. That’s because they say if something does happen, a majority believe they can get the damages reversed.

But Co-founder of CTRL Cloud and CTRL Solutions Group, Nicholas Ferry, has experienced identity theft before and sees it happen more often these days. He says that’s not necessarily the case. There are many cases where the solution can be something as simple as changing your passwords. However, there are also times where identity theft can uproot your whole life, and the damage can be costly.

In a 2017 report from the Federal Trade Commission, South Carolina ranks 21 in the U.S. for identity theft. Ferry says anyone surfing the web can be at risk of falling victim.

“The most vulnerable is the everyday consumer, the only reason I say that is because your everyday consumer isn’t in the technology field, isn’t in the security field," said Ferry.

The study also shows 37 percent of Americans have already been victims of identity theft, with more than half reporting fraudulent credit or debit card charges.

Experts say there’s many ways hackers can target victims, like through social media, phishing, and even fake websites. But there’s also many steps you can take to protect yourself. First, never share your passwords or click on unknown links, and always make sure your website is secure by checking if the web address begins with "HTTPS.” It’s also a good idea to not re-use passwords for multiple accounts.

If you do think you've fallen victim to cybercrime, it's important to take actions immediately.

“The first thing I would do is depending on how compromised you are, you can go from anywhere to not using your technology at your house. It could be as simple as you need to reset your passwords and it’s just only one thing affected. If that happens, I would reset all my passwords - I would change every single one. If there’s a compromise on your home technology already, then you might actually need to replace that technology,” said Ferry.

There are many tools available online to help avoid falling victim to cybercrime, such as password managers, anti-malware softwares, and even websites to check if your account may have been compromised, like Have I been Pwnd.

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