Imagine you’ve suddenly gotten a Facebook message from someone you trust, like a great aunt. They ask if you’ve recently seen any good real estate. You wonder, why are they asking? Your great aunt says she’s recently gotten a $150,000 government grant and she’s looking for ways to invest it.

Wow! She starts telling you all these details about it, like you don’t need to pay it back, and it can be paid to businesses or individuals. In the COVID-19 era, this might even seem more plausible than not. You ask her how you can apply. She gives you the mobile number and email of the person who “helped” her. You’ll have to give your personal information to this person in order to get started.

Does it seem like a lot of work for a simple scam? Not really. It’s actually very simple work. About 30 million Facebook accounts had their information compromised in a data breach in 2018. You might think: That’s a lot of accounts. Even if I’m one of them, it’s just too much work to change my password. However, that’s because most people don’t realize the scale of cybercrime.

The illegal drug industry makes about $400 billion annually. By comparison, cybercriminals, including internet scammers, earn about $600 billion.

It might seem hard to imagine why anybody would be interested in your information or even in stealing it. But if you start turning over each of those compromised accounts and begin selling information from each of them, especially through automation, it starts making more sense. For example, you can become an American citizen for only $6,000 on the dark web.

At AFEUSA, we know business owners take their cyber protection very seriously, which is why we’re partners with not one, but two identity protection companies. With IDShield and InfoArmor, an AllState company, AFEUSA members will find premium rates they can’t find anywhere else. You don’t have to become a victim to these illicit activities — we’ll give you the information and tools to protect yourself.

Article by Charles Jackson, President of AFEUSA

Charles Jackson AFE Board