Police helping keep people safe from scams this Christmas

Barry Coppinger Cleveland Police Crime Commissioner.  Picture by FRANK REID

Barry Coppinger Cleveland Police Crime Commissioner. Picture by FRANK REID

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An event by police to increase awareness of how to stay safe online was hailed a big success.

Cleveland Police’s dedicated Cyber Crime Team spoke to scores of shoppers when they set up a stand in the Middleton Grange shopping centre.

PC Lee Wilson with a information leaflet and a tee shirt.  Picture by FRANK REID

PC Lee Wilson with a information leaflet and a tee shirt. Picture by FRANK REID

Officers gave out leaflets, T-shirts and crime prevention aids during the event supported by Barry Coppinger, the area’s Police and Crime Commissioner.

He said: “A lot of people will be getting mobile phones, tablets and other devices for Christmas so we are just making people think carefully and take advice about security.

“Through these devices your bank details can be accessed so we just want people to be smarter.

“It is estimated that 80% of cyber crime can be prevented by giving advice and support.”

Sgt. Damien Stevens talking to members of the public.  Picture by FRANK REID

Sgt. Damien Stevens talking to members of the public. Picture by FRANK REID

Detective Sergeant Andy Richmond from the Cyber Crime Team, said scam emails claiming to be from official organisations like the taxman, energy firms or even police are among the biggest problems at the moment.

Fraudulent phone calls that try to get victims’ personal information is another worry.

Det Sgt Richmond said: “The main rule is if something sounds too good to be true it generally is.

“Today has gone very well People have been willing to talk and that’s great as it opens the door for raising awareness.”

The Cyber Crime Team was joined by traffic cops from the Police Interceptors selling their calendar for charity, and cyber security organisations Get Safe Online and Kaspersky who provided a Formula 1 racing simulator for the event.