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INDIANAPOLIS – Ransomware attacks have increased by more than 90 percent in the last six months and they were already on the upswing.  It’s not just affecting businesses but people from all walks of life.  And that can mean you could lose a lot of money, time and personal information. 

But there are ways to greatly reduce the chance of you becoming a victim.  To avoid cyber crimes, it’s important to keep track of your finances.  But the first thing you need to think about is passwords.  Don’t use the same password for more than one site as millions of Americans do.

“If you have the same password, once one account is compromised, all those passwords get compromised.  So I think one of the biggest things to do is to use something that will auto generate passwords.  So if you have an Apple computer, it does it automatically.  You can also use systems like “one password” and that will take care of it for you,” said Casey Marx, the founder of Crown Haven Wealth Advisors.

Marx also tells FOX59, do not give out your social security number, unless you really trust who or where you’re giving it to.  If you get a suspicious email, contact the company directly to see if it came from them.  Something else to do is to check your bank accounts and credit cards on a regular basis to make sure there are no unrecognized charges.

“I have talked to a lot of people where thousands of dollars have been spent by someone who stole their information.  The amount has been within their normal spending range, but the bank didn’t notify them, so you need to review your accounts on a regular basis to make sure all these transactions are yours,” said Marx.

Another thing to keep in mind is to update your computer or phone software, and the sooner you get the option, the better.  That’s because the newest software can catch many scams associated with the crypto and ransomware attacks that are surging.  

Something that’s easy to do that most Americans don’t is monitoring your credit score on a regular basis.  Services can do it for you and many are free.  Or you can do it yourself.  Marx says, either way, it should be done at least once a year because your credit and your information is your financial DNA.

But what if you become a victim of cybercrime, regardless of if you’ve done everything you can to protect yourself?  The first thing to do is report it to the Federal Trade Commission, the Better Business Bureau and to local authorities.  You should also report it to your bank.  They’ll put a credit freeze on your accounts because you want to stop what’s happening. 

If you don’t, your accounts may get drained and your credit can get ruined and getting it back can take a long time.