From annoying phone calls, to fake texts that look legit to every mouse click you make–The rise of online scams targeting your personal information has become big business for cybercriminals.

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month highlighting threats you should be aware of and actions you can take to protect yourself from becoming a target online.

Each day, NBC 5 Responds takes calls and emails from viewers involved in scams that steal their personal information and sometimes even their hard-earned money.

The Identity Theft Resource Center shows the spike in data breaches could reach a record high by the end of 2021 if the pace continues.

Wherever there was an opportunity and a vulnerability. Cybercriminals were prepared to seize on that opportunity in a sophisticated way,” said Matt DeSarno, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI office in Dallas.

Their Internet Crime Complaint Center, better known as IC3, is seeing a startling increase in cases.

In 2020, IC3 logged a record number of complaints from Americans reporting losses in excess of $4.1 billion and a 69% increase in total complaints from 2019.

“The phishing scams, what we’re seeing is really better-quality scams through social engineering techniques. What that means is some of these scammers are spending a lot more time learning about their potential victims to enhance them to click on a link,” said DeSarno.

“It’s a 24/7 – 365 problem,” said Lisa Plaggemier, interim executive…

Read more…