The campaign, which launches today (Monday, 17 February) and runs until Friday, 28 February, aims to educate Surrey residents about the rising problem of cybercrime.
Police are advising people not to reveal personal and financial information online as they could become victims of crime if those details fell into the hands of opportunistic offenders seeking to commit frauds and scams online.
In 2012, 42 million people in the UK were reported to have used the internet (85% of the adult population), with 33 million reported to access the internet every day. Access from mobile devices has more than doubled between 2010 and 2012.
Online retail spending accounted for 10% of the total retail spend each month in the UK – £586.6 million in July 2013, and retail sales on mobile phones increased by 326% in 2012 when compared with the same period in 2011.
Whilst there are no definitive measures for the cost of cybercrime to the UK, it is estimated that it equates to a loss of several billion pounds per year.
Cybercrime is an emerging problem both nationally and across the county. Surrey Police is focussing on two key areas – encouraging people to take all necessary steps to protect their information online and alerting members of the public to email scams and other fraudulent online activity.
The campaign aims to tackle this by using a range of external and online media techniques to encourage people to better protect themselves online and take precautions to avoid the ‘Unseen Criminal’ behind this type of crime.
There are five key actions people can take in order to protect themselves and others from cybercrime. The key areas to focus on changing are:
- Using strong, memorable passwords
- Installing anti-virus software on new devices
- Checking privacy settings on social media
- Shopping safely online – always ensuring to check online retail sites are secure
- Downloading software and application patches when prompted
Surrey Police is encouraging people to report instances of cybercrime by phoning 101 or by using the online reporting form on our website.
Detective Inspector Andy Haslam, cybercrime lead for Surrey Police, said: “Cybercrime is a major concern at present, not just locally but on a national scale. Surrey and Sussex Police recognise this and are working together to give victims of online crime the best support possible.
“I would urge people to review the personal and financial information which is available about them online and make sure there is nothing which criminals could use to commit offences.
“Often even experienced online users will leave information open to the public and if those details were to fall into the wrong hands it could lead to someone becoming a victim of crime.
“There is a lot of information available which provides tips on how to avoid cybercrime. Our officers and staff are also able to assist – if you have any concerns or questions, or suspect you have been a victim of cybercrime, call 101 or use our online reporting service.”
Visit www.surrey.police.uk/TheUnseenCriminal for further crime prevention information, or join in the conversation at #TheUnseenCriminal.