Avon and Somerset’s Police and Crime Commissioner has been marking the end of Cyber Security Awareness Month
Avon and Somerset’s Police and Crime Commissioner us urging us all to be vigilant when it comes to cyber crime.
Between January and June this year, £34.4 million was lost here in the West Country – with Action Fraud contacted more than 3,600 times from people in our region during that time.
At the end of Cyber Security Awareness Month, PCC Mark Shelford says it’s ‘vital’ to report it – if you or someone you know has been impacted.
Fraud and cyber crime represent over 50% of all crime in this country and costs the country billions of pounds a year, with the number of reports expected to be ‘far higher’ than what is reported to the police.
It’s as the PCC says these types of crime are increasing in volume and complexity.
In a bid to tackle fraud and cyber crime, the Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Plan includes four key priorities.
Priority 1 is preventing and fighting crime and this is a key focus for PCC Mark Shelford who is also the national lead for the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners on Economic and Cyber Crime.
Cyber crime can be put into two distinct categories:
- Cyber-dependent – crimes committed where the devices are both the tool for committing the crime, and the target of the crime
- Cyber-enabled – traditional crimes which can be increased in scale or reach using technology
Mark Shelford said: “This is an issue for all of us – if we work together we can identify threats and help prevent this type of crime which is unfortunately all too common given the use of technology in so many areas of life and work.
“It’s vital if you or someone you know has been affected by cyber crime that you report it, so that the true scale and cost is known. People often do not report these crimes as they feel humiliated or embarrassed for having been duped or fallen victim to cyber crime but any one of us can be affected. The cost is often more than financial, these crimes have an immense emotional and psychological impact.”
The PCC offers the following five actions that can be taken in tackling and preventing this type of crime:
- Use strong and unique passwords for each online account you hold and implement two-factor authentication wherever possible
- Exercise caution about the information shared on social media platforms – this can be used by criminals to dupe people
- Businesses should train their teams to identify phishing attempts. Emphasising the use of robust passwords and instilling a sense of vigilance in all digital interactions
- Systems and software should regularly be updated and ensure multi-factor authentication is in place
- Report all incidents of cyber crime
These measures are said to provide a shield against potential threats and offer protection when cyber criminals inevitably look to appropriate finances or sensitive information.
If you’re concerned that you have become a victim of a cyber crime, you are urged to report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040, or via their website.
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