Ohio ranks No. 2 in cybercrime impact


Yet online buying soars as distribution problems hamper shopping locally on Black Friday, Cyber Monday

By Shannon Bohle - sbohle@aimmediamidwest.com



Ohio is among the hardest hit by cybercrime in the U.S., according to an analysis of FBI cybercrime data from 2018 to the present conducted by Surfshark.

Ohio is among the hardest hit by cybercrime in the U.S., according to an analysis of FBI cybercrime data from 2018 to the present conducted by Surfshark.


Courtesy photo

Over the past three years, Ohio has ranked second in the nation for personal financial impact of cybercrime.


Courtesy photo

Total cybercrime financial losses in the U.S. increased steadily by age group, though 50- to 59-year-olds were less likely to fall victim than those aged 30-49.


Shannon Bohle (with data from 2020 FBI Internet Crime Report)

Ohio ranks fifth in nation for total cybercrime financial losses in excess of $170 million


Shannon Bohle (with data from 2020 FBI Internet Crime Report)

SIDNEY — As holiday shopping goes into full swing, starting a few weeks before Black Friday and going through Cyber Monday, research trends show increases in the number of cyber attacks and malicious websites designed to defraud customers buying products online. Shopping local is one way to avoid them, but distribution problems may mean buying online in advance is the best option to lock in sale prices.

A study conducted by Amsterdam-based cybersecurity company, Surfshark, examined open-source Federal Bureau of Investigation internet crime reports during a three-year period (2018-present). During that time, they found “1.2M of US citizens (on average, 1 in 300 US citizens) fell victim to at least a single cybercrime, resulting in a total of $9.2B in financial losses.”

During this three-year period, Surfshark reports, Ohio ranked as one of the top five states experiencing the most overall financial losses amounting to $530 million due to cybercrimes. However, the financial impact upon Ohioans was even more deeply felt over the past three years; it ranked second in the nation, with an average loss of 4.4 months of wages for its cybercrime victims.

“The results from our new study are a warning to all online shopping enthusiasts: scammers become extra active during annual shopping sprees,” and include “credit card theft and major hacking attacks on e-commerce sites,” explained Vytautas Kaziukonis, CEO of Surfshark.

A common strategy used by scammers is a copycat website, where content appears to be from an online merchant, but the web address does not match. Often, a similar-looking website name may fool those who are working quickly. Be sure to closely look at the “base URL,” the portion before the .com, to make sure it exactly matches that of the retailer when shopping. Hackers may introduce tiny variations into the names of common retailers, like Amazon, when they purchase web domain name, which area strategy that is designed to fool customers. Additionally, those who click on a link from an email rather than typing in the main website URL into their browser and then doing a search may also be at more risk of being tricked into surrendering their personal and credit card details.

Ohio’s situation appears to be becoming even more bleak, as its 2020 total reported financial losses placed it among the top five states in the nation at just over $170 million, according to The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s 2020 Internet Crime Report. Additionally, among the most vulnerable to cybercrime across the nation are those over age 60. But in a surprising twist, while the overall financial impact showed increasing victimization as age increased, the number of 50- to 59-year-olds who fell victim to cybercrime were fewer than those aged 30-49. So that while fewer in this age group were affected, the financial impact upon them was higher.

Shopping locally is the best way to avoid falling prey to cybercrime activity during the peak shopping season. However, due to shipping problems, shopping locally may not be an option, particularly for CyberMonday items.

In Sidney, major retail store chains are seeing shortages, so shopping online may be necessary for some items to ensure that Black Friday and Cyber Monday prices are locked in, even if delivery occurs later. With this in mind, local retailers are offering tips to make holiday online shopping safer.

C. J. Sharp, store manager at Walmart in Sidney encourages shoppers to order early and to use the Walmart app rather than shopping on the website.

“All the CyberMonday items are going to be in an online sale. We’re already seeing on Black Friday there are some items that haven’t made it to the stores due to the shipping issues that are affecting the country,” Sharp said. “The safest way of not going onto a fraudulent site, I would strongly suggest, is shopping through the Walmart app.”

On Black Friday, Sharp said, home goods (pillows, comforters, bath towels) and housewares were among the best-selling items on-site in the Sidney Walmart store.

Tony Moss, general manager at Menards in Sidney, said “I’ve seen a steady, consistent flow with our 10-day sale versus a mad rush like during a sale limit of a few hours. Having it spread out makes it a lot more welcoming and easier to shop.”

A few popular items sold on-site at Menards during Black Friday have included indoor lighting fixtures, outdoor smokers and children’s toys, Moss said.

Customers shopping online, of course, have the convenience of home delivery, but it is important to use care when receiving sale emails.

“If customers receive suspicious emails where the email format or layout is different, or it asks for a credit card number or personal information, always call the store and don’t open attachments or follow any links,” Moss advised.

Ohio is among the hardest hit by cybercrime in the U.S., according to an analysis of FBI cybercrime data from 2018 to the present conducted by Surfshark.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2021/11/web1_Overall-Financial-Losses-by-State.jpgOhio is among the hardest hit by cybercrime in the U.S., according to an analysis of FBI cybercrime data from 2018 to the present conducted by Surfshark. Courtesy photo

Over the past three years, Ohio has ranked second in the nation for personal financial impact of cybercrime.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2021/11/web1_Highest-financial-losses-per-victim-in-monthly-salaries.jpgOver the past three years, Ohio has ranked second in the nation for personal financial impact of cybercrime. Courtesy photo

Total cybercrime financial losses in the U.S. increased steadily by age group, though 50- to 59-year-olds were less likely to fall victim than those aged 30-49.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2021/11/web1_2020-Cybercrime-Stats-Breakdown-by-Age-Group.jpgTotal cybercrime financial losses in the U.S. increased steadily by age group, though 50- to 59-year-olds were less likely to fall victim than those aged 30-49. Shannon Bohle (with data from 2020 FBI Internet Crime Report)

Ohio ranks fifth in nation for total cybercrime financial losses in excess of $170 million
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2021/11/web1_2020-Cybercrime-Stats-Breakdown-by-State-Losses.jpgOhio ranks fifth in nation for total cybercrime financial losses in excess of $170 million Shannon Bohle (with data from 2020 FBI Internet Crime Report)
Yet online buying soars as distribution problems hamper shopping locally on Black Friday, Cyber Monday

By Shannon Bohle

sbohle@aimmediamidwest.com