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Cyber crime losses in West Mercia down by over half according to latest national statistics

Cyber dependent crime losses in West Mercia have dropped by over half in the six month period April - September 2018, compared with the previous six months.

Losses for West Mercia of some £227K compare with a national increase in total losses of nearly a quarter, at 24%.

Reporting of cyber crime in West Mercia has also dropped by over 1.7% in the same period, compared with a national increase of just under 8%.

These are among the latest statistics released by the City of London Police's National Fraud Intelligence Bureau in their cyber crime report of 27 January (see https://www.cityoflondon.police.uk/Pages/default.aspx ).

The figures include details such as the number of reports of cyber crimes made to Action Fraud and the amount of money lost by victims in each police force area. The cyber 'dashboards' show the impact that this kind of crime can have in a local area.

For West Mercia, it is also estimated that at least 74% of all reported fraud crime was cyber enabled (i.e. the fraud crime was made possible via the use of a computer or device).

Other statistics in the report for West Mercia indicate that people aged between 40 - 49 suffered the greatest from this type of offence. 

The highest losses to the public in West Mercia due to cyber dependent crime were as a result of 'hacking' of their social media and e-mail, with this type of hacking also being the most reported crime.  

However, whilst individuals incurred 84% of such crime, businesses were also targeted, representing 13% of the total. This is similar to national figures.

The top 'malware' (malicious software) method of attack used for such crimes in the period was 'Multi-purpose' malware, with 876 devices being infected.

Detective Inspector Emma Wright, of the Economic Crime Unit, said:

"It is good news that West Mercia has seen a decrease in victim losses from cyber dependent crime.

"The reduction in losses may be as a result of people taking on board our 'Cyber Protect and Prepare' key messages, which we have worked hard to convey to the public and businesses, working closely with our partner agencies.

"West Mercia has also seen a decrease in reporting. However, we know that cyber crime is under-reported so we continue to encourage the public and businesses to report cyber crimes to Action Fraud - the national reporting centre.

"Whilst cyber dependent crime remains fairly low, the figures show that for West Mercia around 75% of all fraud is cyber enabled and this is a figure we would like to see come down. 

"We have taken significant steps to combat and reduce this type of crime, and are working closely with our partners across West Mercia. We have recently established a team of cyber intelligence and investigative staff, with more equipment and training coming through soon. This will enable us to devote more resources to cyber dependent investigations and bear down harder on cyber criminals.

"However, as always, our best results are achieved by working closely with the public and business. They should be on their guard at all times and report any cyber crime to Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk or 0300 123 2040.

"Remember the following simple ways to guard against cyber crime:

  • ensure you use strong, separate email passwords for your email account.
  • protect yourself from cyber crime - always install the latest software and app updates on your phone and computers, as they contain vital security updates, helping protect your device from viruses and hackers.
  • consider also enabling two factor authentication (also known as two step authentication or two step login) where services support it.

"Don't be the next cyber victim.

"Members of the public can also find up to date advice and tips on preventing cyber crime at our force website and by following our Digital Police Community Support Officer James Squire, on Twitter - @cyberpcso."

The City of London Police is the national policing lead for fraud, a founding member of the Global Cyber Alliance and hosts Action Fraud, the national reporting centre for cyber crime.

Full statistics for the period April - September 2018 are on the City of London Cyber Crime 'dashboard' published today.

Statistics for West Mercia include:

Victim losses: £227,316 (compared with £521,336 previously, down 56.4%)

Cyber reporting: 238 cyber dependent crimes (down 1.7%)

Reports of Hacking - social media/email: 86

Victim losses from Hacking - social media/e-mail: £99K

Issued: 1.15pm, Tuesday 29 January, Nigel Sargeant, Corporate Communications

Published 29/01/19