FRAUD and cyber-crime cost Dorset more than £8 million over the past year.

Members of the public are being urged to start making every day safer after the latest online crime figures from Get Safe Online and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau were revealed.

In the south west, 24 per cent of people say they have a limited understanding of the risks they face when going online.

However, 85 per cent said there were ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ concerned about their online safety and security and 89 per cent said they felt online crime is as damaging or more damaging than physical crime.

Dorset Police head of investigations, temporary detective superintendent Pete Little, said the threat from cyber-crime continues to be a “rapidly growing problem”

“Tackling it is a priority in Dorset,” he said.

“The Dorset Police cyber-crime unit is already focused on ensuring that the force provides a quality response to all forms of online crime in our communities.

“However, a significant amount of cyber-crime could be prevented in the first instance if members of the public were aware of how to protect themselves from becoming victims of online crime.

“That’s why we are working with Get Safe Online to continue to equip members of the public and local businesses with the information and guidance they need to limit their chances of becoming victims.”

Computer users are urged to review their passwords, check social media privacy settings, update operating system and software programmes or apps, back up information and check internet security software is up to date.

Anyone who has lost money online should report the incident to Action Fraud by calling 03001232040.

Deputy police and crime commissioner Colin Pipe said: “Cyber-crime has the potential to affect virtually every household and business in Dorset and the commissioner is committed to ensuring Dorset Police do everything possible to prevent these crimes.”