DORSET police chiefs have issued a cyber crime warning after a national report warned of the extent of bank and online fraud.
The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau reported £157 million being defrauded from the bank cards and online accounts nationally in 2013/14.
Residents in Dorset have also fallen foul of tricksters with criminals stealing bank cards, cheque books, or obtaining card or account details in order to take money from a victim’s account or use it to shop online.
Victims usually detect this activity by checking their monthly bank statements.
Obtaining personal information by either social media or email, and harassment online has also been reported.
Director of Investigations, Detective Superintendent Kevin Connolly said: “Dorset Police recognises cyber-crime and online fraud as an emerging threat to our residents.
“We take these crimes very seriously and the Force and Dorset’s Police and Crime Commissioner are committed to working jointly to ensure we are fit for the future. A cyber-crime strategy has been developed and we are investing in training for our officers.”
Dorset Police have issued some simple guidelines to ensure all residents stay safe online.
Superintendent Kevin Connolly said: “There are some basic safety measures we can all take to protect ourselves online. I would urge everybody to follow these simple rules to ensure all online devices are kept secure.”
- Make sure your computer has up-to-date internet security software switched on.
- Don’t reveal personal information on social networking sites
- Regularly backup the data on your computer and smartphone/tablet
- Never reveal your password or PIN when asked to do so by email or on the phone
- Make sure your wireless network is secure at all times
- Be careful who you are selling to and buying from on auction sites
- Choose strong passwords, change them regularly and don’t tell anybody what they are
- When shopping, paying or banking online always make sure the website is secure
- Always download the latest software and operating system updates when prompted
- Remember your smartphone is also a target for viruses and spyware
Crimes can be reported direct to Dorset Police on 101 or to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
Advice is available from Trading Standards and Citizens Advice through 08454 04 05 06 or www.adviceguide.org.uk and also www.getsafeonline.org.