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ActionFraud - action against cyber crime

by  David Dwyer on  27/03/2017    549 Reads

How to report cybercrime of all sorts to the relevant people

Cybercrime is on the rise - it’s much safer for the criminal, after all, who doesn’t have to go out in all weathers in the stripy jumper and eye-mask and risk meeting up with a policeman at an awkward moment.  Instead he (it’s usually a he) can sit at home in front of a computer in his jammies and hack into your details, all dry and comfy.  You can see the attraction for today’s bright young thief.

It’s less attractive for the victims, though.  If you put all the sensible precautions in place (anti-virus, anti-malware, firewall) you’ll have gone a long way towards protecting yourself – but many people still get caught out every year.  You probably know someone who’s had to change all their bank passwords because an unauthorised person’s been helping themselves to their hard earned cash.

You should always check, if you’re paying for anything online, that the website address begins https, not just http, and that the padlock symbol in the browser bar is closed and has turned green.  Your own native caution will often warn you if something doesn’t feel right on a website or in an email; if it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t, so leave the site or bin the email without opening it or, taking care not to download,  open or save any attachments.

But let’s say you’ve taken all the precautions and you still get hit.  Not necessarily by fraud: identity theft and abuse are just as common, if not more so.  What should you do?

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The police want to hear about online crime just as much as any other sort.  You can phone 101 to talk to someone, go to, or call the Action Fraud hotline on 0300 123 2040. 

It doesn’t matter what crime it is – a fraudulent email, phone call, text or social media post – they’ll only have a hope of solving it if they actually hear about it.



You should also tell your ISP, the social network, and the organisation or business the fraudster claims to represent, if relevant.  Emails claiming people have got a big tax refund from HMRC or that their Paypal account has been suspended (both very common) work because they look as though they really come from the organisation in question. 

That’s misrepresentation, a crime in itself, and what they’re trying to achieve is getting access to your personal details, which is also a crime, in order to relieve you of some of your hard-earned cash – yet another crime.  So the police will be really interested in such emails, both to catch the perpetrators and to protect the people to whom the emails are being sent.

 If you don’t report the email, the police may not get to hear about it until people have started losing their money or identity.  If they’ve already heard about it, that’s fine – your email will add to the evidence.

So don’t just think “oh, it’s just another of those bloomin’ emails”: act.  Tell the relevant authorities, using the details above, and help clean up online crime.  Tell us too – the more people know about them, the better for everyone.  Share your comments and tales of woe below!

Cyber Security, Cyber Security Vulnerabilities, Internet of Things, Security, SSL, The Evolving Web, Website Vulnerabilities
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