Orange County authorities launch SafeOC initiative targeting cybercrime

Jessica De Nova Image
Sunday, January 30, 2022
Orange County authorities launch initiative targeting cyber crime
Richard Roll fell victim to cyber crime. Orange County authorities hope the SafeOC initiative will help protect others from doing the same.

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- Last summer, Richard Roll fell victim to cybercrime. Orange County authorities hope the SafeOC initiative will help protect others from doing the same.

In late July, Roll's cell phone suddenly stopped working.

"They got into my account and they changed the carrier as well as probably the SIM card and they started going forward with my business, into my, looking at everything I have in my emails all the way to information with my Apple products," Roll said.

In two hours, with the so-called SIM Swap, hackers were in and out, costing Roll hundreds of hours, two months' worth of work to ensure the security of his information, immeasurable stress and a good chunk of change -- mostly cryptocurrency investments.

"Compensation-wise, there was a lot of money stolen," Roll said.

California says most of the 345,000 disability checks they suspended are fraudulent

After suspending 345,000 disability checks because of fraud concerns, California officials said nearly all of those suspected claims were associated with criminals trying to trick the state into paying them.

Crime like this is the focus of a new initiative by law enforcement in Orange County: SafeOC.

It's a localized version of the national See Something, Say Something campaign.

Safe OC includes a new website and social media accounts to help the public learn to identify threats and protect themselves and their families.

The new initiative creates critical partnerships in the battle against a rapidly changing, emerging threat, Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said Wednesday.

"Cyber is by far the up and coming crime and risk domestically and oftentimes of foreign bad actors, but it also includes opportunities to bring other threats or risks to our attention," Barnes said.

Cyber Investigator Lance Larson with the Orange County Intelligence Assessment Center said anything leading to quicker reports is key.

"It gives us that ability to go on and be able to start the disruption process of stopping the cyberattack, potentially being able to freeze money as it's moving through the financial system potentially trying to go overseas," Larson said. "They're able to stop certain things that I could not do in a timely fashion."

Starting Feb. 1, all law enforcement recruits going through the Orange County Sheriff's Dept. Regional Training Academy will have to go through Cyber Liaison Officer training to better familiarize themselves with cybercrime.