Cost of cybercrime reaches record levels as Utah victims nearly top the nation in losses

Sep 20, 2021, 7:02 PM | Updated: 9:36 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Utahns are trusting people, perhaps too trusting. New numbers shared with the KSL Investigators show that when it comes to losing money to cybertheft, Utahns are near the nation’s top.

“I called you because I was a victim of a scam,” said Marilyn Smolka when she spoke to KSL.

Smolka thought she was sending money to a friend, who emailed saying they were stuck in the hospital with COVID-19.

It turned out that she sent the money, $300 worth, to a scammer who had hacked her friend’s account.

“I cannot believe this happened to me,” Adam Moffat told us.

Moffat thought he was confirming his identity to someone looking to rent his home by sending back a six-digit code. In reality, the code unlocked access to his email account for a cyber crook.

“How could I fall for something so stupid?” lamented Melissa Brink when she shared her experience with the KSL Investigators. “I know better!”

Brink believed she had just paid her utility company $50 toward a bill. Unfortunately, she was paying a scammer, who then snagged $500 from her bank account.

These Utahns, whose stories we have shared in recent months, are in good company.

According to FBI data compiled by CCTV Camera World, victims lost a record $4.2 billion to cybercriminals in 2020, up from $3.5 billion the year prior. And Utahns were near the top of the list, with the average victim losing $9,562, making Utah the nation’s fifth highest in cybercrime losses.

Last year, FBI special agent Jeffery Collins told KSL the number of victims of cyberattacks and cybercrime are likely much higher than reported.

“People are embarrassed by it, right?” said Collins. “Who wants to admit that they fell for a scheme like this?”

The best advice: Never click on links in text messages or emails from people you don’t know, never assume a person calling you is who they say they are, and use strong, unique passwords to keep the bad guys out.

The same report shows the total cost of cybercrime incidents reported to the FBI has gone up by nearly 800% since 2011, from $485.3 million to $4.2 billion.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

KSL Investigates

FILE: Back-to-school shopping (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)...
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage

Gephardt Busts Inflation: Saving $ on back-to-school supplies with inflation

With inflation running amok this year, parents are tackling big price hikes on top of the stress. Fortunately, there are ways they can still save money.
2 days ago
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

KSL Investigators help bank customer regain access to his money after fraud incident

KSL Investigators help a fraud victim gain access to his bank account after nearly a year of being locked out.
5 days ago
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

What are the rules for airline travel credits?

After canceling a beach vacation to Hawaii, a Utah woman believes she has $1,400 in flight credits. Ongoing flight cancellations have plagued the summer travel season, and a lot of travelers are being made whole with flight credits rather than refunds.
6 days ago
FILE PHOTO - Shown are a smartphone and computer....
Matt Gephardt

Can a company pull the rebate runaround?

When a West Valley City woman took up Verizon on a rebate offer to upgrade but could not get the rebate, she contacted the KSL Investigators for help.
12 days ago
Daniella Rivera

KSL Investigates: How is Utah’s new self-defense law impacting justice?

Is a new Utah self-defense law improving our justice system or leading to unintended consequences? The KSL Investigators analyzed a full year of cases.
13 days ago
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage

Utah home sellers drop asking prices as market slows from a frenzied pace

For years, Utah has been one of the nation's hottest real estate markets, but now it appears to be cooling as sellers are slashing prices.
13 days ago

Sponsored Articles

tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
cyber security through multi factor authentication setup...
Les Olson IT

How multi factor authentication setup helps companies stay safe

Multi factor authentication (MFA) setup is an important security measure that every company should implement for their workers. It’s also wise to install it for your personal and home accounts.
Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Address Bar of internet browser shows internet access...

Utah voters 50+ support increased access to Internet

The AARP surveyed Utah voters aged 50 plus about internet access and if they support the expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas currently lacking it.
Cost of cybercrime reaches record levels as Utah victims nearly top the nation in losses