Georgia loses millions from cyber crimes

Published: Oct. 26, 2018 at 6:34 PM EDT
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Friday, October 26, 2018

(News 12 at 6 O’Clock / NBC 26 at 7)

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – Cyber crime is costing Georgia a lot of money. We're talking millions of dollars each year. That's why the GBI is working to step up its game and they're doing it in the brand new cyber center.

"It's a tremendous loss every year. We know that it's at least $38 million dollars in Georgia alone every year," Special Agent Steven Foster said. "We actually think that number is about seven times higher.

Special Agent Steven Foster is with the GBI. He sees people getting hacked all too often and says it's only getting worse.

"Some of the most costly crimes in Georgia involve business email or business phishing type crimes," Foster said.

It's called business email compromise.

"Where you get an email from someone you think you can trust, you click on a link and either you provide information, or your computer gets basically hacked," Foster said.

This scam is the most common, but not all are reported. According to reports, 461 people fell victim in 2017. Foster says that's only a fraction of the true victims, meaning for every seven cases only one is reported.

"What we find is that about 90% of cases where a person's banking account, financial information or business information is stolen starts with an email fishing scheme,"Foster said.

Right now Foster's new unit at the Georgia Cyber Center is still going through training, but are already working on two of these cases in Augusta.

"That's our mission here is to become involved in these because they're growing every year and hopefully stem the tide on the loses we are seeing in the state from these types of cases," Foster said.

Foster says these types of crimes usually fall through the cracks, which is why he and his team are here. Starting January 1st, his team will be done with training -- and taking on a lot more of these case.