Michigan ranks 8 in internet fraud loss. Here's how to protect from online scammers

The good news? Michigan finds itself on another top-10 list. The bad news? It's for Internet fraud loss.

The FBI placed Michigan 8 in the country for financial losses from scammers on the Internet, with the average victim losing more than $10,000.

"We need to be educated and we need to know these things are happening and we need to be proactive so it doesn't happen to us going forward," said David Derigiotis, a cyber-risk expert.

It's not just through unusual email threads or ambiguous phone calls. Online scammers are now exercising their knowledge of social media to separate people from their money. And in 2018, they were very effective at doing so - collecting almost $3 billion from Americans.

When one contacts you over social media, it can usually be identified when the person tries to establish a connection with their target.

"Well, typically it could be building a relationship over time and at some point, they will ask for some type of money," said Derigiotis.

If you're concerned about the person messaging your, there's an easy way to find out if your suspicions are valid: Google their profile photo. 

It's easy too. Just screenshot the photo and paste it into Google, also known as a reverse image search.

"So Google, Bing, those are tools that you're able to do more than just type in text and get a result back," Derigiotis said. "You can put an actual profile picture in that search engine and it will look for matches. So do that when people are looking to connect with you online and you've never met them."

Beyond that simple search, Derigiotis also said you can use getnotify.com for email scams - which will tell someone the person sending the email their location. When you send an email back to that person, it will ping their IP address and location. If they aren't from the state they say they are from, then it's wise to be weary of the individual.