Cybercrime Victim Support Initiative Launches in West Michigan

Our team at Cybercrime Support Network (CSN), in collaboration with grant partners Michigan 211 and the Heart of West Michigan United Way (HWMUW), is proud to announce the launch of Michigan’s first cybercrime support and recovery hotline. The new system, which launched Tuesday, July 23, allows cybercrime and online fraud victims in Kent County, MI to call/text/chat “2-1-1” and speak to a trained call specialist who will guide them through the reporting and recovery process. This program was made possible by a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime.

After serving as a county commissioner in Michigan from 2008 to 2011, I realized the need for a one-stop resource of information and assistance for cybercrime victims. in addition to our grant partners, a group of stakeholders including Michigan State Police, Michigan 9-1-1, Kent County Sheriff, FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center, and local 9-1-1 centers came together over a 4 – year period to build the foundation for a national program. 

Once the service is established in Kent County, it will expand further in 2019 and early 2020 to Michigan residents in Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Ionia, Kalkaska, Lake, Leelanau, Mason, Mecosta, Montcalm, Newaygo, Oceana, and Osceola counties.

The launch of 211 in West Michigan is the next step in CSN’s effort to create a nationwide support and recovery hotline for cybercrime victims. By working with local, state, and national partners, CSN has secured federal funding to execute the hotline in multiple states. Rhode Island went live in May and additional states are planned to launch before the end of the year.

For communities that do not have the 211 cybercrime services yet, they can visit FraudSupport.org to get guidance on how to report and recover after a cybercrime or online fraud incident. Over 220,000 visitors have already come to the site to find support. 

These efforts wouldn’t be possible without the support of our partners and sponsors. We would also like to thank the local and state law enforcement and government officials who spoke about the impact of the initiative at the press conference on Tuesday, July 23: Michigan Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist, D/F/Lt. Commander James Ellis of the Michigan State Police, Sheriff Michelle LaJoye-Young of Kent County, Acting Deputy Chief Peter McWatters of the Grand Rapids Police Department, and Michelle Van Dyke, President/CEO of HWMUW.

Protecting our family, friends and businesses in a digital world requires collaboration. I am honored to work with dedicated public servants who understand the needs of Michigan’s citizens and are making sure resources are available.

The official press release can be found here.