211 expands cybercrime help program to 13 Michigan counties


The 211 call center at the Heart of West Michigan United Way. (File)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A pilot program that started in West Michigan to help cybercrime victims is now expanding to 13 counties.

Cybercrime Support Network and Heart of West Michigan United Way expanded its 211 Cybercrime Victim Support Initiative to the following counties this month: Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Ionia, Kalkaska, Lake, Leelanau, Mason, Mecosta, Montcalm, Newaygo, Oceana and Osceola.

The program was first launched in Kent County in July 2019.

The United Way’s 211 connects people in need with various services for everything from necessities like food, shelter and clothing to more advanced help for specialized needs.

The 211 system in these counties have teamed up with the Cybercrime Support Network to allow people to report cybercrimes. It could include being scammed out of money, having bank accounts hacked or being bullied. 211 will then put callers in touch with the people who can help.

According to CSN, it’s estimated that one-fourth of American adults are victims of cybercrimes or online fraud each year. In 2019, Michiganders reported more than $47 million in losses to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center. More information about the Cybercrime Victim Support Initiative and 211 assistance can be found online.

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