Prominent military and veteran service organizations, non-governmental organizations, corporations, foundations, and federal agencies are banding together in the Partnership to FightCybercrime to launch a national program that supports America’s service members, veterans, spouses, survivors, and their families—a community of 28 million that is disproportionately targeted for online scams, fraud, and identity theft.
Reports made to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) show that U.S. military personnel, veterans and their families lost more than $420.5 million to cybercrime between 2016 and 2020. Additionally, the FTC found the median financial loss due to fraud is 44% higher for veterans than that of other civilians. 1 in 4 Americans is a victim of cybercrime but only 700,000 incidents were reported to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) in 2020.
“Cybercriminals, online fraudsters and international crime syndicates are attacking our nation’s military and veteran community at alarming rates,” said Kristin Judge, CEO of the Cybercrime Support Network (CSN), the convener of the Partnership. “Besides the emotional and financial toll on individuals and families, cybercrime can have a devastating impact on our military readiness and national security.”
Judge notes that scammers take advantage of multiple aspects of military life including the distance between family members, regular deployments and relocations, high use of social media networks, and accessing government programs and benefits online. Romance and sextortion scams, real estate rental scams, personal data phishing schemes, and charity fraud are common cybercrimes among this community.
“Service members devote their lives to protecting us, so it’s our duty to help protect them. This program is a true partnership that brings the best military advocates together to facilitate a coordinated, actionable response to serve those targeted by cybercrime in a simple, effective manner,” said Craig Newmark, whose charitable organization Craig Newmark Philanthropies is a founding partner of this program. “Experiencing cybercrime is stressful enough. I’m proud to support CSN and their groundbreaking work in helping those who have been harmed by cybercrime and taking the stress out of finding helpful resources.”
The Partnership’s Military & Veteran Program will educate and mobilize the community to recognize, report, and recover from cybercrime. The FightCybercrime.org/military website offers free prevention resources, online security tips, and guidance for service members and veterans to report cybercrime incidents to the appropriate authorities.
The Partnership to FightCybercrime Military & Veteran partner organizations are: 22Kill, Army Emergency Relief, DAV (Disabled American Veterans), Gold Star Wives – Arlington Chapter, Got Your Back Network, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Links to Freedom, National Association of Black Veterans, National Organization for Victim Assistance, Patriot Boot Camp, Racing for Heroes, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, Travis Manion Foundation, and VetSec.
Interested nonprofit organizations can become a partner of the Partnership to FightCybercrime at no cost. Partners will support the program’s outreach efforts, webinars, speaking engagements, and other initiatives.
CSN will carry out a 12-month capital campaign to raise the $3.5 million needed to allow for the full implementation of the program.
The Military & Veteran program was co-founded by CSN, Craig Newmark Philanthropies and The Bob Woodruff Foundation.
Craig Newmark Philanthropies‘ goal is to support and connect people and drive broad civic engagement, working to advance grassroots organizations that are effective and getting stuff done in areas that include: Trustworthy journalism & the information ecosystem, voter protection, women in tech and veterans & military families.
The Bob Woodruff Foundation stands out from the sea of 46,000 nonprofits that serve veterans by the way in which they find, fund and shape innovative programs within that maze. It is by connecting communities with the brave heroes returning to them that BWF is best able to provide more than stopgap measures, but long-term solutions that take a holistic approach to recovery.