San Diego

Are You a Victim of Cybercrime Without Knowing It?

Cybercrime statistics show most offenses go unreported

Many cybercrimes go unreported, according to cybersecurity experts. A new alarming statistic that is making officials concerned as technology becomes more advanced every day. 

The problem is twofold: victims either don't know where to turn to report the crime or might not even know they are victims of a crime, like in cases of hacking and some identity theft.

“The cybersecurity field right now is like a vast ocean with mines underneath,” said Ashton Mozano, a professor of cybersecurity at the University of San Diego. “Most of these cybercrimes don’t get detected and don’t get reported.” 

And he adds cybercriminals are getting more advanced by the day as well. 

“Cybercriminals tend to be innovative, so they are many steps ahead of conventional law enforcement,” said Mozano. “Technology is rapidly opening up doors that many of us may not even be aware of right now.” 

Law enforcement is starting to notice a disturbing pattern: anyone who is a victim of a physical crime, like a robbery, is most likely to report it. But what about those that are victims of crimes that are so new that the legal system doesn't know how to define it yet? 

“There’s a huge challenge on local and federal law enforcement agencies to try to report these crimes, let alone try to prevent them,” added Mozano. 

Mozano adds the biggest industries in San Diego vulnerable to cyber attacks are biotech and tourism/hospitality. 

He said major hotel chains like the parent company of Motel 6 have had massive security breaches. Hackers are able to steal information from guests checking into the hotel through pay services. 

He added that hackers know San Diego is an affluent area, making it more vulnerable to credit card-related attacks. 

Or people signing into free wifi through the hotel could also be hacked. 

"If they hack the hotel wifi, hackers could be monitoring your email activity," added Mozano. 

 But he stresses that there are simple steps to take to protect yourself. Try not to sign onto free and open wifi, for example. 

Choose passwords that are long and complex with numbers and letters. 

To guard your credit card information, put credit locks on all three plus one major credit bureaus (four total). 

"If anyone wants to go and get a credit card under your name, they would have to pay an unlocking fee or put in a pin," added Mozano. 

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