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£35 million lost by cyber crime victims

30 January 2019

THE CITY of London Police, the national lead force for fraud which runs Action Fraud, has revealed that cyber crime victims lost £34.6 million between April and September 2018[1]. This loss is an increase of 24% from the previous six month period.

These new cyber statistics are based on the 13,357 cyber crime reports that were made to Action Fraud, the national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre, between April and September 2018. 

The statistics also show that for 5,225 reports, hacking of social media and email accounts was the primary reason for people reporting cyber crime to Action Fraud. These victims are believed to have lost a total of £14.8 million.

The City of London Police, which is a founding member of the Global Cyber Alliance, also leads Cyber Protect, a specialist unit dedicated to protecting the public and businesses from fraud and cyber crime.

The key to protecting yourself from cyber crime is to always install the latest software and app updates on your phone and computers as they contain vital security updates which help protect your device from viruses and hackers. You should also ensure that you use a strong password for your email account, which is different to your other passwords, as hackers can use your email to access many of your other personal accounts. Consider also enabling two factor authentication (also known as two step authentication or two step login) where services support it. 

For protection advice based on the expertise of the National Cyber Security Centre and specifically targeted at protecting small businesses and individuals from cyber criminals, please visit Cyber Aware.

Commander Karen Baxter of the City of London Police said, “Cyber crime is a growing trend with the total losses increasing by 24%. In particular criminals are targeting social media users and online account holders in a bid to make money and steal personal details. This leaves victims out of pocket and at risk of identity theft. 

“To avoid falling victim, it’s important that people keep a strong, separate password for their email accounts. They should also use the latest software and app updates. Always be suspicious of unsolicited requests for your personal or financial information and never call numbers or follow links provided in unsolicited texts or emails; contact the company directly using a verified and trusted email or phone number. If you or someone you know believes they have fallen victim to cyber crime, please report it to Action Fraud.”

[1] Total loss values are calculated from the amounts provided by victims when they report to Action Fraud and have not yet been verified.