The Cybercrime Support Network (CSN) and the Aspen Tech Policy Hub are teaming up to work towards the goal of creating a single, easy-to-use system to report online fraud and cybercrime directly to appropriate law enforcement agencies.
Every year, it is estimated that one-third of American adults are victims of cybercrime or online fraud. Older Americans are disproportionately affected — over the last five years, cybercrime against U.S. seniors has risen 400 percent and resulted in $650 million in annual losses.
While scam tactics have evolved, federal databases, reporting forms, and scam prevention efforts have not kept pace. When consumers report scams to the government, law enforcement officials are better able to perform investigations into past crimes, see patterns of fraud and take preventive measures.
This summer, Aspen Tech Policy Hub fellows Ginny Fahs, Steven Buccini, Anil Dewan, and Ora Tanner researched this critical issue. They found that existing government reporting systems are too complex for older adults, their families and even professionals focused on elder services and elder fraud prevention.
The fellows published recommendations that federal agencies centralize and redesign reporting systems. They also built and tested a working prototype of a new reporting form, and shared these materials with relevant nonprofits and government agencies.
The Aspen Fellows’ source code and form prototype will be a starting point for CSN’s ongoing efforts to synthesize government cybercrime reporting systems, and their usability testing and design recommendations will be utilized as CSN works across government agencies to streamline cybercrime reporting systems.
The Aspen Tech Policy Hub joins a number of collaborators on the initiative including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Center for Internet Security and Mississippi State’s National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center.
The Cybercrime Support Network and the Aspen Tech Policy Hub are both generously supported by Craig Newmark Philanthropies, which backs grassroots efforts that are “getting stuff done” in areas that include trustworthy journalism & the information ecosystem, and election security & voter protection.
“Tech makes life more convenient for a lot of people, and it has the potential to serve the common good, but it also can pose major threats to our personal security and privacy,” said Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist and Craig Newmark Philanthropies. “We need all hands on deck to tackle this matter, so I’m especially grateful that two impactful groups are joining forces to help those who have been harmed by cybercrime.”