Cyber crime covers a variety of crimes that take place on the internet, computers and smartphones.
These crimes vary greatly and can include:
- child sex abuse (e.g. grooming or viewing pornographic images of children)
- online bullying, stalking and harassment
- sending spam emails
- ‘phishing’ for passwords and other private data
- fraud and identity theft
- spreading viruses and ‘malware’
- hacking into your computer
You may also be affected by:
How it can affect you
Because cybercriminals are able to hide behind devices and technology, it can feel as though you’re facing an invisible enemy.
Their ability to pry into our personal online spaces can make us feel vulnerable and targeted. And if you aren’t familiar with digital technology, it can leave you feeling at a loss as to what to do or where to turn.
You may feel embarrassed for falling for a scam, or feel that you should have done more to protect your online credentials. But if someone commits a crime against you, it is not your fault.
If you are worried about your child online, you may feel unsure what to do.
What you can do
Do some reading! Take a look at the links on this webpage – there are lots of resources out there that will help keep you and your family safe online.
Make sure your computer has anti-virus and firewall software installed.
If you receive strange emails, don’t click any links or preview or open any attachments. Just delete them straight away.
Mark spam emails as spam – this will help your email provider to block similar content in future.
You can also check on security providers for information and lists of scam emailers.
When shopping online, use trusted retailers.
Double-check email and website addresses – do they seem accurate or do they use different spellings or unexpected destinations?
You can report any scam emails you receive to Action Fraud.
Worried about your child online?
Research social networking sites – find out how they work, what privacy settings can be set, and how to report any unsuitable behaviour or content.
Use content blockers or filters – these can be applied to your PC or your internet browser, and can prevent dubious, adult, or illegal content from being accessed.
Speak to your child about online safety and the things they can do to keep safe. Let them know they can come to you if they are ever worried about something they have seen or heard online.
How to report it
Report online scams and fraud to Action Fraud. While it may not be possible to investigate your particular issue, submitting your report will help police and national agencies to build a picture of the major cybercrime and fraud issues affecting the UK, so that they can tackle the issue.
- Read more about how Action Fraud works on our fraud and scams page.
It's Not Okay
If you're worried about your child's safety online or are concerned that they are being groomed, contact your local specialist child sexual exploitation team. Find out more from www.itsnotokay.co.uk. You can also make a report to CEOP.
Many social networks will have their own processes that will allow you to report abuse, fraud or unsuitable behaviour and content online. You will also be able to block certain users and content.
In an emergency: dial 999
An emergency is when a crime is being committed or has just been witnessed, there is a risk of injury, or a risk of serious damage to property.
In a non-emergency: dial 101
Use this number to report a non-emergency incident or make a general inquiry.
Contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Crimestoppers is a charity which is entirely independent of police and never share details with police of people who have got in touch.
Find help and support
If you have been a victim of crime, don’t suffer in silence. Even if you don’t want to report it to the police, tell a trusted friend or family member about it and use them for support. You can also search our directory to find help and support to help you cope and recover from what’s happened.
You can also find useful information by following these links:
- Citizens Advice – online scams
- Internet Watch Foundation – the UK hotline for reporting criminal online content
- Consumer rights information from gov.uk
- Get Safe Online
- Which? Consumer Rights
- Greater Manchester Police – Staying safe online
- National Stalking Helpline
- Network for Surviving Stalking
- Action Fraud
- Think You Know – online safety advice for young people, parents and carers
- CEOP – protecting young people online. Find out how to make a report