PANAMA CITY, Fla (WMBB) – October is cyber-security awareness month. 

It’s not enough for you to just be safe on your computer. According to FBI statistics, over 400 million people were impacted by cyber-related crime in 2022.

To make sure you don’t become one of those victims, it’s important to know how to protect yourself online.

During the month of Oct., law enforcement wants to make sure people are aware of cyber-security threats.

“You give the slightest bit of trust and you can fall prey,” said Panama City Police Department Detective Russ Momani.

Criminals are creative scammers. They’re responsible for emails that look like they came from, but are actually an attempt to steal your info.

“To make sure whether or not this is a real email or not. The best thing to do is click on the actual email address and it will actually drop down and you can see the full email,” Momani said.

If it’s a scam the full email will generally show random numbers and letters that are not part of the legitimate company email.

Phone calls and texts are another popular way to get personal information.

“You’ve got people that will randomly call you and say that they’re the police and you have a warrant for your arrest. If you pay like $1,000 to me right now, give me your credit card over the phone,” Momani said.

Just as there are a variety of ways to get scammed, there are also a variety of ways to protect yourself.

Law enforcement officials recommend using a VPN. It’s a small price to pay to protect your data.

“The best thing to do is invest in a VPN. When you have a VPN, it secures your IP address, secures your connection people don’t have the ability to be able to access your computer or your phone that way or actually be able to view everything that you have viewed online,” Momani said.

And it’s not just online information that needs protecting.

You should also routinely shred paper documents, like old credit card bills and bank statements.