Thirteen Michigan Counties Become Part of the Cybercrime Support Hotline

On May 12, Cybercrime Support Network (CSN) and Heart of West Michigan United Way (HWMUW) launched the Cybercrime Victim Support Initiative to 13 new Michigan counties. The 211 call center will now be available to take calls from Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Ionia, Kalkaska, Lake, Leelanau, Mason, Mecosta, Montcalm, Newaygo, Oceana, and Osceola County, in addition to Kent County that launched in July 2019.

More Michigan cybercrime victims can now dial 211 to receive assistance in moving past the negative effects of cybercrime. Calling, chatting or texting 211 allows residents to report cybercrime and find resources to recover.

“HWMUW’s 211 is excited to be expanding our cybercrime service into all 14 counties that we serve. With all of us dealing with the unprecedented circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, this is the perfect time to offer this to our communities,” said Sherri Vainavicz, Director of Programs & Services at the HWMUW. “People are struggling just to meet their basic needs. It is scary to think they could also be the victim of a cyber scam. 211 can not only help report these incidents, but we can also offer tips on how to keep yourself safe in these uncertain times.”

“We are so proud of this partnership with CSN and our local 211 to bring this service to everyone free of charge here in Northwest Michigan.” Said Seth Johnson, President of United Way of Northwest Michigan. “211 is a great place for anyone to turn to. Whether you are in crisis, need food assistance or utility assistance, or concerned about your cybersecurity, 211 is here 24/7/365.”

Cybercrime preys on vulnerable populations and often leaves victims struggling with few resources for economic or emotional recovery. Every year, it is estimated that one-fourth of American adults are victims of cybercrime or online fraud. Michigan alone had $47,122,182 losses reported to the IC3 in 2019. 

“We are excited to expand our 211 initiative to more counties,” said Demitria Gavit, CSN’s Michigan program director. “As a resident of Michigan, I am eager to continue to help victims of cybercrime in Michigan. We are grateful for our partnership with HWMUW in order to make this expansion possible.”

With the support of funds from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime Vision 21 Grant, HWMUW has partnered with CSN and the Heart of Florida United Way (HFUW) to implement a multi-state approach to responding to the unmet needs of cybercrime victims. The program’s $1.4 million in federal funding was awarded in February 2019 and is set to continue for two years with plans to expand into additional counties.

Visit www.hwmuw.org/cybercrime to learn more about the Cybercrime Victim Support Initiative and to get help through 211.

Check out these news stories about the Michigan expansion: