The internet has become a part of our daily lives, and while it has brought convenience and connectivity, it also brought the risk of crime. In my latest podcast episode, I had the opportunity to talk to Dr. Ravinder Singhal, a fierce IPS officer. He said something intriguing: computers and mobile phones, which lie as the source of innovation and technological advancement, are now often used to intimidate others. Cybercrime can take many forms, including identity theft, phishing scams, malware attacks, and ransomware attacks. If you are a victim of cybercrime, it is essential to take immediate action to protect yourself.
Here are five things you should do when you are a cybercrime victim.
1. Go to the police
I cannot stress this any further. No matter what the type of crime is, you need to go to the police, inform them and take the necessary legal steps. You can visit the website of the cybercrime department of your city or country or physically go to the cybercrime complaint cell and lodge a complaint with the necessary evidence. They can help you determine the extent of the damage and may be able to track down the people responsible for the crime. Be sure to provide them with as much information as possible.
2. Protection against phishing
Phishing is when some fraudulent person steals money from your bank account. Nowadays, this is not uncommon. If you realize something similar happened to you, go to your bank and talk to the officials. They will be able to tell you the procedures you need to follow. Visit your bank’s website. Do not trust other random websites. You can always refer to your bank passbook for the official information.
3. Crimes of cyberstalking
If there’s cyberstalking, you must collect the necessary evidence. Do not engage with the stalker. You can take screenshots or print the pages. Try to get the messages as well as the profile pages. Make sure that your family and friends are aware of the situation and advise them not to engage with the perpetrator. In case of identity theft, analyze the source or the hijacked information and then contact authorities.
4. Spyware and malware
The best way to deal with spyware and malware is to install a strong antivirus in your system, especially when dealing with sensitive data. But nothing is foolproof. Hence, in case of a spyware or malware attack, you must isolate the infected device from the rest. Try to identify the type of malware so the authorities can quickly understand what to do. And when you sort the issue, wipe everything off and reinstall from scratch.
5. Do not panic
This is the most underrated yet crucial step a cybercrime victim must follow. When we see someone has wiped our bank account clean or hacked our social media account, we tend to get hysterical. But remember, you cannot do anything by panicking. Especially during a crisis, you must be calm and chalk out your next steps rationally.
Governments in all countries are revising cyber laws and making them stricter. But don’t just depend on the government; take your own precautions — install that antivirus, do not click on suspicious links, and refrain from exchanging sensitive pictures on social media. It will go a long way in protecting you.
For more important precautionary tales, check out my podcast here.