Cybercrime is an umbrella term for lots of different types of crimes which take place either online or where technology is a means and/or target for the attack. It is one of the fastest growing criminal activities across the world, and can affect both individuals and businesses.
Cybercrimes can affect people in different ways, and in most cases victims will feel worried and scared by what has happened. For this reason cybercrimes are treated as ‘real world’ crimes and are prosecuted as such.
The different types of cybercrime are:
Cyber dependent crimes – a digital system is the target as well as the means of attack. These include attacks on computer systems to disrupt IT infrastructure, and stealing data over a network using malware. The purpose of the data theft is usually to commit further crime.
Cyber enabled crimes – existing crimes have been transformed in scale or form by their use of the internet. The growth of the internet has allowed these crimes to be carried out on an industrial scale.
The use of the internet to facilitate drug dealing, people smuggling and many other 'traditional' crime types.
Bedfordshire Police has a unit dedicated to investigating cybercrime called the Cyber Hub. If you are a victim or have information about crime call us on 101. Online fraud offences can also be reported to Action Fraud on their website or by calling 0300 123 2040.
Fraud is when trickery is used to gain a dishonest advantage, which is often financial, over another person or business. The Annual Fraud Indicator 2017 estimates the cost of fraud to the UK is £190bn a year.
Fraud can involve everything from holiday scams, impersonation of officials, debit and credit card fraud, property, corporate and benefit fraud and counterfeit goods – Action Fraud have an A-Z of all the different types of fraud on their website.
Identity theft happens when fraudsters access enough information about someone’s identity (such as their name, date of birth, current or previous addresses) to commit identity fraud. Identity theft can take place whether the fraud victim is alive or deceased.
If you’re a victim of identity theft, it can lead to fraud that can have a direct impact on your personal finances and could also make it difficult for you to obtain loans, credit cards or a mortgage, until the matter is resolved.
Identity fraud can be described as the use of a stolen identity in criminal activity to obtain goods or services by deception.
Fraudsters can use your identity details to:
Open bank accounts
Obtain credit cards, loans and state benefits
Order goods in your name
Take over your existing accounts
Take out mobile phone contracts
Obtain genuine documents such as passports and driving licenses in your name
Stealing an individual’s identity details does not, on its own, constitute identity fraud. But using that identity for any of the above activities does. The first time you may be aware of identity fraud could be when you receive bills or invoices for things you haven’t ordered, or when you receive letters from debt collectors for debts that aren’t yours.
Support and prevention
You can sign up to Action Fraud Alert, to receive direct, verified and accurate information about scams and fraud in your area. The system is provided by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) and uses the Neighborhood Alert Platform, which is a secure, national community messaging facility used by Police, Neighborhood and Home Watch, Crimestoppers, Fire and Rescue services and local authorities throughout the UK. You can also see the latest fraud alerts on their website.
Never give anyone your PIN or National Insurance Number.
No bank or card issuer will contact you by email and ask you to enter all your personal and financial details online. If you receive a message like this, report it to your bank, then delete it.
If you get an email from an unknown source, do not open it and do not click on any attachments.
Make sure that your anti-virus software is up to date.
Never follow the messages from anti-virus software you encounter whilst on the internet. Only follow the anti-virus instructions from the software you have installed on your computer.
Install an anti-spyware package.
Always use a firewall.
Ensure that your software is up to date.
Change your passwords regularly and don't make them too simple.
Only use secure websites and look for the padlock symbol in the search bar.
If children are using the internet install a child safety option to stop them accessing inappropriate content.
Shred all correspondence that contain your personal details.
Be wary of cold callers who attend your doorstep or who phone you, when you haven't asked for contact.
Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and internet crime. You should report fraud to them if you have been scammed, defrauded or experienced cybercrime. The website also gives advice on protecting against fraud and provides a list of useful organisations. You can also contact them by calling 0300 123 2040 or visit https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/.
This site gives you information and advice on how to protect your device, data and business, and the different Government campaigns; visit https://www.cyberaware.gov.uk/.
Get Safe Online
The Get Safe Online website provides practical advice on how to protect yourself, your computers and mobile devices and your business against fraud, identity theft, viruses and other problems encountered online; visit https://www.getsafeonline.org/.
Cyber Smile Foundation
The Cyber Smile Foundation provides educational programs and support services for anyone who has been affected by cyberbullying and online harassment; visit www.cybersmile.org or call 0845 688 7277.
TigerMobiles have produced some handy guides, one about common scams and how to avoid them, which can be found here and one about Elder Abuse, which can be found here.
Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and internet crime. You should report fraud to them if you have been scammed, defrauded or experienced cybercrime. The site also gives advice on protecting against fraud and provides a list of useful organisations.
CEOP (Child Exploitation Online Protection) provides advice about staying safe online for children and parents and allows victims to report any online behaviour they are uncomfortable with.
Crimestoppers is an independent charity helping police locate criminals and solve crimes through anonymous reporting. The site also provides crime prevention advice for a number of crimes.
This site is a resource for help and advice with online protection.
Get Safe Online
The Get Safe Online website provides practical advice on how to protect yourself, your computers and mobile devices and your business against fraud, identity theft, viruses and other problems encountered online.
The CyberSmile Foundation
The Cyber Smile Foundation provides educational programs and support services for anyone who has been affected by cyberbullying and online harassment.
Think Jessica is a registered charity supported by agencies, organisations and police forces nationwide and is committed to making people aware of the danger and financial implications caused by postal and telephone scams, educating professionals and protecting the most vulnerable members of our society from illegal practices.