West Yorkshire Police are highlighting the online threat posed by criminals as part of a national week of action to raise awareness over the dangers of cyber-crime.
Each day will focus on a different aspect of cyber-crime, from online bullying and ‘trolling’ to commercial cyber-attacks, online fraud and internet grooming.
A dedicated webpage and a comprehensive social media campaign using the hashtag #WebMonsters will provide information on the often simple steps everyone can take to protect themselves.
A recent study from Get Safe Online showed over half of those surveyed in Yorkshire said they had been victims of cyber-crime and were left feeling very or extremely violated by their experience.
Statistics from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) revealed that nearly £11.5 million was lost in West Yorkshire from internet-enabled frauds in the year to September 2014.
Assistant Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police Geoff Dodd said: “Cyber-crime can be seen as a faceless crime that occurs in an online world but the reality is very different.
“So much of our daily business now revolves around the internet meaning this area of criminal activity is rapidly expanding and it’s essential we do everything we can to protect ourselves from the financial and emotional impact this crime can have.”
He added: “We are continuing to increase the training our staff receive to enhance our capability to investigate cyber-related incidents and unmask the faceless individuals that use the internet to prey on some of the youngest and most vulnerable members of our society. Education and awareness is also key to combating this crime.
“Throughout this week we are supporting the national campaign to reinforce the message that we can protect ourselves by taking simple steps.”
Mark Burns-Williamson, the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire, said: “I have identified cyber-crime as one of the main priorities in my Police and Crime Plan and earmarked some significant investment into this area. I hope this Cyber-crime Week of Action will boost awareness of the issues, and ensure more people are equipped with the right knowledge and skills to reduce the threat.
“Many crimes these days involve cyber-crime ranging from fraud, which can cause serious financial harm to an individual or business, right through to organised crime, which can wreck communities. There is also a worrying development in the increase in use of online forums and social media to bully, stalk and groom people.
“Cyber-crimes do not just affect big businesses and we must never underestimate the impact this crime can have on anyone, but especially those who are young and vulnerable. There is a potential step-change required within policing and law enforcement generally to fully understand the scale and impact of technology enabled crime and I am working with the police to address this.
“Cyber safety begins firmly at home by taking really simple and quick steps to ensure your computer has the right levels of protection and passwords are frequently changed. Ignore strange emails which tempt people to click a link which might then load damaging software onto the owners PC, or even take control of their computer and steal personal information.”
To view the webpage go to: www.westyorkshire.police.uk/BlockTheWebMonsters