Becoming the victim of an online crime can be just one click away, but so is the simple advice which can help protect you. That’s the message from Warwickshire Police during Get Safe Online Day, which is being marked across the country today (Tuesday October 18), and as part of the force’s ongoing #Be Cyber Smart campaign people are being urged to make the clicks which count.
It comes as figures from Get Safe Online and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) reveal that £10,960,1171 was lost in the county as a result of fraud, including cybercrime, in 2015/16. Nationally, this figure rose to £10.9 billion over the same period which equates to approximately £210 per person over the age of 16 living in the UK2, but represents only reported fraud and cybercrime to Action Fraud. However, a specially commissioned survey to mark Get Safe Online Day3, reveals that the UK figure is likely to be much greater, with respondents who had been a victim of online crime alone losing an average of £523 each – this being more than the average weekly earnings figure for the UK4 which currently stands at £505. In addition, 39 per cent of people who said they’d been victims of online crime said they hadn’t reported the incident – meaning the overall amount of money lost by the UK could be even more.
Detective Chief Inspector Tim Bower, who is the business lead for cybercrime for Warwickshire Police, said: “Cybercrime is undoubtedly on the rise, but the good news is that knowledge really is power when it comes to both individuals and businesses protecting themselves. Warwickshire Police is committed to tackling cybercrime, in liaison with our partner agencies. We also place a great emphasis on raising awareness of the ways in which people can protect themselves, by holding and attending community events, for example, as well as through our #Be Cyber Smart campaign. “Research has shown that many losses are preventable by following some simple advice and this year, to mark Get Safe Online Day, we are urging everyone to take just a few minutes out of their day to make the clicks that count. There are some excellent online resources which are well worth clicking on, including Get Safe Online and our own campaign. Even if it’s just for five minutes before work, in a lunch hour, during a bus journey home or during the adverts of a favourite programme we are urging everyone to have a quick look at some top tips.”
Making the wrong click can result in problems for internet users. For example, fraudulent emails, otherwise known as phishing emails, which appear to come from someone you know can prompt you to click on a link to a website which installs a virus on your computer. This can result in your private information being stolen by criminals or your computer being infected by ransomware – a type of malware which enables criminals to remotely lock a computer, informing the owner that it will not be unlocked until a sum of money is paid.
The Police and Crime Commissioners for Warwickshire, West Mercia and the West Midlands have joined together with Warwickshire County Council and key strategic partners today to launch a cybercrime survey to assess the impact that online crime is having around the region. The West Midlands and West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioners have now joined the survey that originated in Warwickshire last year.
The cybercrime survey – which can be found here https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/RegionalCyber16 – is being run jointly by the three Police and Crime Commissioners and the County council.
More information and advice from Get Safe Online can be found here https://www.getsafeonline.org/
Basic security measures for all computer users include:
S Shred documents containing personal details before throwing them away.
M Make sure passwords are nonsensical. Use letters, numbers and symbols.
A Always use legitimate and up-to-date antivirus software.
R Remain vigilant. Think before you input or email your personal details.
T Think Phishing. Could that email be from a fraudster trying to get hold of your personal details?
Victims of fraud or anyone suspecting they may have fallen victim, should contact Action Fraud on www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud or call 0300 123 2040.
For more information about staying safe online and the scams to look out for go to www.getsafeonline.org
- Calculated as the amount of money lost in 2015/16 to fraud and cybercrime. This figure represents incidents reported to Action Fraud by those over 16 and with a valid UK postcod.
- Calculated according to most recent adult population (over 16 years) estimates from ONS: http://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationestimates/articles/overviewoftheukpopulation/february2016
- Survey conducted by Censuswide on behalf of Get Safe Online with 2,000 UK AdultsCalculated according to latest ONS figures for earnings and working hours which put the UK average weekly earnings at £505: https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/earningsandworkinghours