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Legislation targets rising issue of cybercrimes

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz has introduced new legislation to combat cybercrimes as more Americans lose more money to scams every year.

U.S. Sens. Thom Tillis, John Cornyn and Richard Blumenthal joined Schatz in developing and introducing the new bill to Congress.

The bipartisan Better Cybercrime Metrics Act will improve data collection about cybercrimes, giving law enforcement and policymakers more tools to understand the size and scope of cybercrime in the United States.

“To protect people and fight online crimes, including hacks and scams, we need to understand how often, when, and where it’s happening. Our bipartisan bill will equip us with the data we need to go after criminals and provide more support to victims of cybercrime,” said Schatz in a press release.

The bill will give law enforcement a clearer picture of online crimes by requiring the FBI to integrate cybercrime incidents into its current reporting streams to better understand all the types of crime Americans face.

Cybercriminals continually prey on vulnerable populations with phishing scams on computers and mobile devices, which often target the elderly and minors.

“Cybercrime is definitely a concern and is a rising issue for kupuna, but also for everyone,” said Craig Gima, spokesman for the AARP in Hawaii. “Cybercriminals usually target older people, because there is a chance for larger sums of money, which are larger losses for kupuna.”

In 2020, Hawaii residents experienced more than $5.4 million in losses based on the total number of complaints about cybercrimes.

“Phishing scammers are clever and use fear to intimidate vulnerable populations,” Gima said. “We are doing what we can to educate kupuna about fraud and give them advice to not fall for these scams.”

Phishing is the most prominent cybercrime scam. These crimes target consumers using an email that appears to be from a well-known source, like an internet service provider, a bank or mortgage company. It then asks the consumer to provide personal identifying information.

“The main things I tell people are to not click any links, don’t give out personal information, and look up the email address that was used to send the information,” Gima said. “This issue continues to rise every year, so it is obvious we need to something about it.”

Email Kelsey Walling at kwalling@hawaiitribune-herald.com
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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