Cyber crime


Cyber crime continues to rise in scale and complexity across the UK, affecting essential services, businesses and private individuals alike. Cyber crime costs the UK billions of pounds, causes untold damage, and threatens national security.

The most common cyber crime threats include:
• Hacking – including of social media and email passwords
• Phishing – bogus emails asking for security information and personal details
• Malicious software – including ransomware through which criminals hijack files and hold them to ransom
• Distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks against websites – often accompanied by extortion

Ideas for you

If you are currently being subjected to a live and ongoing cyber-attack then please contact Devon and Cornwall Police on 101.

If you suspect you’ve been scammed, defrauded or experienced cyber crime, the Action Fraud team can also provide the help, support and advice you need.

Call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 (textphone 0300 123 2050).

Most cyber attacks could be prevented by taking these basic security steps:
• Choose strong passwords and don’t reuse them for multiple logins
• Install security software such as anti-virus and two-factor authentication. This kind of software is often available for free
• Keep all security software and operating systems updated (this can be set to update automatically)
You can further reduce your chances of becoming a victim of cyber crime and online scams by following the simple advice below:
• try using three unrelated words for passwords, eg fishbooktable; and think of three different words for each account, so if one is compromised the others are safe
• never give personal or sensitive details out online or over email
• make sure all devices have up-to-date anti-virus software and a firewall installed
• keep software and apps regularly updated
• only download from legal, trusted websites
• only open emails and attachments from known and trusted sources
• only ever use websites that start with https://, however make sure that you’re on the correct site by sense-checking the full website address
• avoid using public WiFi hotspots that are not secure, use your 3/4G data. If you have no choice but to use Public WiFi, then only use it with a Virtual Private Network enabled on your device
• regularly back up your data
• control your social media accounts – regularly check your privacy settings and how your data is being used and shared
• be cautious of internet chats and online dating – there’s no guarantee you’re speaking to who you think
• be extremely cautious if you’re asked for money

Things that might help

Advice on how to stay secure online is available from the National Cyber Security Centre here

Advice from the police is available here.

A specific service for reporting suspected online fraud and cyber crime is available through the National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre here.

Cornwall Council offers a link for you to sign up for text notifications of new and current scams here.

Further links and information

More details of the specific threats of cyber crime are available from the National Crime Agency here.

Further information relating to cyber crime provided by Devon and Cornwall Police is available here.

National Trading Standards has a team dedicated to tackling scams and also offer training courses on avoiding scams. You can find out more

Return to toolkit