211 expands cybecrime help program to 13 Michigan counties

Posted: May 12, 2020 / 10:33 AM EDT Updated: May 12, 2020 / 10:33 AM EDT

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 September 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. The CSN will then put callers in touch with the people who can help.

According to the 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.