Hartlepool people are being given helpful tips to stay on their guard and not fall victim to cyber crime this Christmas.
Cleveland’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Barry Coppinger, has urged the public to protect themselves by following a 10 step guide to cyber safety.
Mr Coppinger told the Mail: “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.
“Whether it is online bullying or internet fraud, cyber crime affects a wide range of victims.
“A priority of the Police and Crime Plan is working together to make Cleveland safer and tackling cyber crime is an important part of that.”
A rapid increase in internet crime has led to Cleveland Police setting up a dedicated cyber crime unit to investigate all areas of offending – including fraud, trolling, harassment, indecent images and grooming.
Head of the cyber crime unit, Inspector Steve Bell, joined the Commissioner in urging the public to help protect themselves.
“Cyber crime is like many other forms of crime – there are simple steps the public can take to protect themselves” said Inspector Bell.
“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.”
For more extensive advice about safe business and personal use of the internet visit www.getsafeonline.org/ or the force website.
10 tips to stay safe from cyber crime
1. Choose, use and protect your passwords carefully. Use a different one for every online account.
2. Protect mobile devices with a password.
3. Regularly update, and keep switched on, internet security software.
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.
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 recipient is trustworthy.
9. Take your time and think twice.
10. Remember that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.