Oregonians lose over $6 mil. to cyber crime in 2012

Oregonians lose over $6 mil. to cyber crime in 2012

EUGENE, Ore. -- Online scams are on the rise, and according to the Internet Crime Complaint Center scammers took over $6 million from Oregonians last year.

The Better Business Bureau said that number is up from $3.5 million in 2011. Officials with the ICCC found that Oregonians over the age of 40 were the ones who lost the most money to internet phishing and scams.

On Friday, KVAL News talked to Eugene resident Kristen Smith who said she was a click away from adding her money to the millions taken by scammers each year. 

Smith said a man named Frank Woods emailed her, sent her two blank U.S. Postal Service money orders and asked her to send $1,500 to someone she didn't know.

“Then Frank said, please confirm that your address is … and I did,” said Smith.

Luckily for Smith, the cashier handling the money orders noticed something strange.

“They said they were not valid, although they were valid at one time but the routing numbers and stuff had been changed so they were void,” said Smith.

Kyle Kavas of the Better Business Bureau told KVAL News what happened to Smith isn’t all that uncommon.

"One of the biggest issues we’ve encountered recently are with phishing emails and those are emails that are sent out usually claiming to be from official agencies or even organizations like BBB,” Kavas said.

He went on to say that the scammers hope is to get people to click on links or open up attachments that might be damaging to computer files and might actually try to coerce personal information out of victims.

One good rule to follow with online offers Kavas recommends following is if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.

“We had a feeling there was something going on… it was just too easy of money … It was too good to be true,” Smith said.

The Better Business Bureau said to stay safe online, users should research a company first, look at reviews, and see if there are any complaints before giving out any personal information.

Below are the ICCC's statistics on cyber crimes for Oregon. View the stats from other states.