Online crime – or cyber crime – covers different crimes that take place or arranged or assisted by online use. This can be anything from fraud and email scams through to hacking, viruses, pornographic and indecent images, harassment and paedophilia.
Anyone can become a target of cyber crime. Latest figures from the Crime Survey for England and Wales estimate nearly six million fraud and cyber crimes are committed a year, with one in 10 people falling victim to scams.
Statistics suggest that fraud is the most common type of crime and around 70% of this is online-related.
To find out more, see our cyber crime page.
Simple steps to stay safe online
It is thought that around 80% of cases could be avoided if people took simple steps to protect themselves while online.
- Use a strong password to keep your details safe. This should contain upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols.
- Never give your personal details out online. Banks and companies will never ask for sensitive information via email or phone.
- Make sure you are using up to date internet security, including on your mobile phone.
- Ensure you have installed the latest operating system
- Edit your privacy settings on social media and make sure only your friends can see your updates and information.
Get Safe Online
Get Safe Online (opens new window) is an organisation founded by the Home Office, HSBC, Microsoft, the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), the Central Sponsor for Information Assurance (CSIA), Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) and theDepartment for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR).
The advice service has a wealth of information about staying safe online.
The following links will take you direct to the relevant section of the Get Safe Online website:
- Protecting your computer
- Protecting yourself
- Smartphones and tablets
- Shopping, Banking and Payments
- Safeguarding Children
- Social Networking
- Hardware and Devices
- Information Security
- Online Safety and Security
- Rules, Guidance and Procedures
- Ways you work
#ProtectYourWorld – stay safe online campaign
2016 sees the launch of #ProtectYourWorld – stay safe online cyber crime campaign to raise awareness about the threats posed and encourage everyone to take simple steps to protect themselves.
Find out more on our #ProtectYourWorld page.
What to do if you become a victim of cyber crime
Never feel embarrassed to report it if you believe you have been a victim of cyber crime.
•Online fraud - Action Fraud (opens new window) or call 0300 123 204
•Other online crime (including bullying/harassment) – report to police on 101.
Safer Internet Day
For Safer Internet Day 2016 we took some time to ask some of the pupils at The Westgate School in Slough what their top tips were for staying safe online.
Safer Internet Day video transcript
Hello my name is Colette, hello my name is Aaron, my name is Cerys, my name is Romin Dercy, hi my name is George, my name is Hafsan, hello my name is Oliver, my name is James, my name is Rahim and my online tip is that you can never trust a stranger online, someone who says they are a twelve year old boy could actually be a forty year old woman, if you're unsure whether to trust someone ask a parent or guardian. My top tip is never put your address online. My top tip is to make your account private. My top tip for cyber security is always use your privacy settings to make sure that you only allow your friends to be in contact with you, you can't let strangers be in contact with you 'cause this can be dangerous as they can know more about you, and they can try and hunt you down and then, well who knows what could happen next? My top tip is not to share pictures you aren't comfortable with. If you see something online that makes you feel uncomfortable, unsafe or worried tell a trusted adult or teacher at your school immediately. My top tip to being safe on the internet is to never give out your personal details. My top tip is when on any online website always use a different name, never your own don't give out any personal information, even about friends or relatives. My top tip is to never arrange to meet someone from the internet.
Please consider our crime prevention advice in this section to help make sure that you surf the web safely.