Langevin launches hotline for cybercrime
U.S. Representative Jim Langevin has launched a first-of-its-kind in the nation hotline that will handle issues related to cybercrime for residents of Rhode Island. The hotline, located at the United Way Rhode Island offices in Providence, is staffed with operators trained by the State Police. The operators are tasked with fielding calls and providing assistance and resources to cybercrime victims.
A press release issued by the congressman stated that the “new support and recovery system will be managed through partnership with the Cybercrime Support Network, the United Way Rhode Island 2-1-1, and the Blackstone Valley Advocacy Center. Langevin helped to secure $282,600 in federal funding for the system through the U.S. Department of Justice’s Victims of Crime Act grant program.”
“Rhode Islanders can simply dial 2-1-1, and they will be connected with an operator who can help them report and find resources to recover from cybercrimes,” Langevin told The Times. “The penalties for cybercrimes vary widely depending on the specific crime in question and often times the perpetrators are overseas and cannot be prosecuted. Serious offenses can include fines and jail time. 2-1-1 operators can help victims identify the proper authorities to ensure each case is handled accordingly.”
Langevin, a Democrat, co-founded the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus with Texas Congressman Michael McCaul (R) in September of 2008. The caucus helps raise awareness and provides a forum for different committees to discuss the challenges in securing cyberspace.
“Identity theft, cyberstalking and other cybercrimes have become increasingly common, and too often people don’t know where to turn if they become a victim,” said Langevin. “I knew the team at the Cybercrime Support Network from their previous work with the Department of Homeland Security. When I learned about their new project, I was immediately excited by the concept. I helped facilitate introductions between the Cybercrime Support Network and partners in Rhode Island, and I was pleased to help secure a $282,600 federal grant to support their work.”
“The Cybercrime Support Network is the lead partner organization,” noted Langevin. “CSN’s founder and CEO, Kristin Judge, created the non-profit organization to address the unmet needs of cybercrime victims. Working with federal, state and local organizations – like the United Way Rhode Island – CSN developed this initiative to help individuals and small businesses affected by cybercrime.”
As for safeguarding the nation’s electoral process, Langevin said, “I was one of the only members of Congress talking about cybersecurity when I co-founded the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus over a decade ago. Since then, cybersecurity has greatly increased in prominence, and it’s often on the minds of my fellow lawmakers. I am pleased with this progress, but we still have much work to do, and that includes better securing our election systems.”
“The foreign interference operations in the 2016 election were unprecedented,” said Langevin. “The Trump administration has taken some steps towards mitigating this threat, but it has not nearly been enough. We need to take more aggressive action to deter and defend against election interference, such as replacing aging voting equipment with machines using voter-verified paper ballots, improving security of our IT systems and voter databases, and boosting cybersecurity training for local elected officials.”
For information about the Cybercrime Support Network go to: www.cybercrimesupport.org.