Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger has urged the public to protect themselves from cybercrime this Christmas.
"Many people across Cleveland will be getting new computers, mobile phones, tablets or other devices this Christmas or buying them in the New Year, so now is a good time to check you are protected on all fronts” said Mr Coppinger.
“Whether it is online bullying or internet fraud, cybercrime affects a wide range of victims. A priority of the Police and Crime Plan is working together to make Cleveland safer and tackling cybercrime is an important part of that”
Cleveland Police has set up a dedicated cybercrime unit to investigate all areas of offending – including fraud, trolling, harassment, indecent images and grooming.
Head of the cybercrime unit, Insp Steve Bell, joined the Commissioner in urging the public to protect themselves.
“Even if we uncover internet crime it can be very difficult to prosecute as the criminals may be based in another country and outside our jurisdiction, so the best advice is to do what you can to avoid becoming a victim in the first place.”
Follow the ten top tips below to avoid becoming a cybercrime victim:
1. Choose, use and protect your passwords carefully. Use a different one for every online account.
2. Protect mobile devices with a PIN or password. Don’t leave them unattended in public places.
3. Regularly update, and keep switched on, internet security software on all your devices.
4. Don’t reveal anything confidential such as passwords or bank details on public Wi-Fi.
5. Avoid revealing personal or financial information in emails, social networking and dating sites.
6. Be suspicious, fake emails and phone calls are a favourite way for fraudsters to find victims.
7. Don’t click links or open attachments in emails, posts, tweets of texts if the source isn’t known.
8. Never pay by direct bank transfer unless the recipient is trustworthy. Use a credit/debit card.
9. Take your time and think twice, because everything may not be as it seems.
10. Remember that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
For more extensive advice about safe business and personal use of the internet visit getsafeonline.org/ or the force website.
Topics covered include protecting children, safe shopping, social networking and public Wi-Fi safeguards, gambling online and protecting your devices.
Posted on Wednesday 23rd November 2016