LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– “They are coming for you,” that’s the message behind the Cyber Security Summit in Loveland. The FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center estimates the loss from internet theft, fraud, and exploitation in 2018 topped $2.7 billion.

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That’s part of the reason why the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office and the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce gathered online security experts together to take part in the Cyber Security Summit. The goal was to educate small business operators how to protect their valuable information.

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Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith told CBS4 the number of reports that come into his office fluctuates each month, however many are not reported at all.

“If something doesn’t quite sound right, if you receive some kind of a threatening message before you click on an email, or before you respond to that individual, stop, call your local law enforcement agency, report to them what’s being sent to you an seek their advice, maybe this is some sort of legitimate business or whether this is some potential cyber crime. It starts with your local law enforcement, you don’t have to call the FBI,” he said.

Justin Smith Cyber Security

Justin Smith (credit: CBS)

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Smith also advises small business owners to become familiar with resources available to prevent ransomware and other related hacking schemes. The summit is planned for a return next year.