How to report a Cybercrime and why the NYPD is leading the way

January 17 2020
Stephen Rae, Chairman, IFPC

A narrative we hear over and over again is that victims of Cybercrime don't know what to do or who to go to when they notice huge sums of money have been drained out of their bank accounts. And it's not only the victims who are clueless. Many times their lawyers or financial experts haven't a clue what to do.

Worse when you go to the police about a Cybercrime, victims will often report getting a blank stare from the officer in the police station. In some cases we have heard from the victim that the officer has told them: "This is a civil matter, not a criminal case, go to your solicitor."

In another case, the victim has said the officer who took their complaint told them: "Come back Saturday when the detectives are here"!

When we speak of victims we are referring to influential CEOS and CFOs in charge of large businesses or major corporations with turnovers in the tens and hundreds of millions. But when it comes to a Cyber incident they don't know where to turn.

To begin with, of course Cybercrime is a criminal matter - the clue is in the name.

Similarly, you must report the matter to the police. You should insist the officer take your statement of complaint and ask that the specialist cyber crime bureau or department is informed. You should get the name of the detective chief in your area and get his or her contact details and also report the matter to that senior officer.

We know from the senior specialist Cybercrime officers who have spoken at International Fraud Prevention Conference that they will always go to great lengths to liaise with their international counterparts to recover the stolen money and catch the perpetrators. But they have to know about the matter first - so must report the Cyber incident immediately.

It's conventional wisdom that Cybercrime is too technical and too international for local police to handle. But as daily life becomes more digital, so does everyday crime and police chiefs and local cops should know they can no longer avoid wading into the world of phone spoofers, crypto-currencies and hijacked cell phone numbers.

They know there is an urgent need to change up and there is a major piece of work to be done by police leaders reaching patrol and station level officers to train them in dealing with Cybercrime reports.

That is why developments in the US and in New York City right now are so interesting.

The New York City Police Department (NYPD) has developed an App to cope with the influx of Cyber complaints, NPR reports. It is something that we will be hearing a lot more about from the NYPD's Chief of Department, Terence A Monahan when he addresses IFPC 2020 in Croke Park Convention Centre in Dublin on March 11 next.

The NYPD's director of cyber intelligence, Nick Selby is behind the pilot project that operated in the final months of 2019 to try to teach officers a new way of thinking. The purpose of the 'Cyber Investigative Standards Pilot' was not to train NYPD's thousands of patrol officers to understand the technical ins and outs of cybercrime the way Selby does. "That's not going to happen," he says. "Geeks don't scale!"

But a police department can scale up technology, and that's where Selby saw the potential solution. He designed an interactive App for officers' phones, meant to guide them through interviews with cybercrime victims to make sure they get the right technical details. If the right details get to specialist detectives quickly enough, they stand a better chance of tracking the culprits and, in some cases, recovering stolen money by stopping bank transfers or intercepting shipped cash payments.

Selby told NPR: "If somebody walked into the precinct holding a bloody handkerchief to their head and said, 'Somebody hit me over the head and took a thousand dollars out of my wallet,' you'd have five cops running out to find the guy,'" says Selby, a former police detective with extensive cyber security experience. "[But] if they come in and say, 'Some scammer took a thousand dollars from me,' [police say] 'Ooooh, you've got to call the FBI!' That's crazy. That's the old way of thinking."

READ and LISTEN how Selby and the NYPD developed a new way of thinking and a new App to cope with Cybercrime complaints HERE

HEAR from NYPD Chief of Department, Terence A Monahan at International Fraud Prevention Conference 2020 on March 11. BOOK your tickets HERE