MISSOULA, Mont. – Some of the biggest public safety threats we’ve seen since the start of the pandemic are cyber scams and ransomware; Costing people their hard earned money to re-secure their information once it’s been lost.
In the last three years between our FBI region of Idaho, Utah and Montana reported 131 complaints that they’re aware of with some victims paying close to $20 million in ransomware in one transaction alone.
Salt Lake City’s FBI Special Agent in Charge, Dennis Rice, shared they’ve been seeing this trend spike as more people are working remotely and conducting transactions virtually.
He says healthcare, education and home-buyers are the top three industries that have been targeted the most.
“They’re telling you okay here is where you need to send the funds electronically because a lot of us do online banking and a lot of transactions and that’s what a lot of these hackers are keying in on,” said Rice.
Of the 131 complaints, 17 of those came last year and came from Montana. As of this week, the FBI has not been able to recover all of those businesses’ assets who’ve paid the ransom in an effort to get their information back, which is something they never recommend to begin with.
“It’s a constant effort to try to keep up, with trying to get in front of this and to help the victims recover some of the money and it will always be possible but education is really key,’ said Rice
The FBI encourages organizations of all groups to partner with their local FBI office before a cyber incident occurs.
FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center officials can assist you in navigating any cyber security risks you would like to report