Cyber crime and online safety

Cyber crime covers all crimes that take place online, are committed using computers or are assisted by online technology.

Anyone can become a victim of cyber crime. It’s estimated that nearly six million fraud and cyber crimes are committed each year, with as many as one in 10 people falling victim. 

To reduce your chances of becoming a victim:

  •  use a strong password or passphrase which is at least 12 characters long and contains a mixture of letters, numbers and symbols
  • never give personal or sensitive details out online or over email
  • make sure all devices have up-to-date anti-virus software and a firewall installed
  • keep software and apps regularly updated
  • only download from legal, trusted websites
  • only open emails and attachments from known and trusted sources
  • look for the padlock icon in the address bar when paying for goods or services online, this means the website is trusted and secure
  • check the address starts with ‘https://’ whenever you’re asked to enter sensitive information online

Visit Get Safe Online for step by step instructions on keeping your devices up-to-date with the latest security updates, plus further information on keeping safe online. 


Be careful when opening emails, especially if they’re from an unknown sender. If an email is unexpected or seems unusual, even if it’s from someone you know, ignore it and contact the sender directly to check if they sent it.

Your bank, the police and other reputable companies will never ask for sensitive or financial details over email, the phone or by text message. 

To protect yourself from scams:

  • don’t open attachments or click on links in emails from senders you don’t know
  • never give out personal information, financial details or passwords in an email
  • set up spam filters on all of your accounts
  • don’t respond to emails from unknown sources 
  • always go to a website directly, by typing out the address yourself, when logging into an account

Social networking

Social networks are a great way of keeping in touch with friends and family, but be careful about how much personal information you choose to share. Once you post or share something on any social media platform it’s out of your control and could be shared by others, even if you delete it. 

Make sure you:

  • think carefully about the images, videos and content that you share
  • remember that if you wouldn’t do or say it in the real world, don’t do it online
  • set your privacy settings to the highest level and check them regularly as updates can affect settings
  • don’t add or accept requests from people you don’t know

Tips for parents and guardians

The internet can be a valuable resource for children, allowing them to connect with friends and learn new things. But there are also dangers to going online, and children can be particularly vulnerable.

Talking to your child is one of the best ways to keep them safe online. By understanding the risks and keeping yourself up-to-date on the latest technology, websites and social networks you can help your child enjoy the internet safely and securely. 

To help protect your children online:

  • keep computers and games consoles in family rooms where you can monitor activity
  • install parental control software or activate parental controls through your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to prevent access to inappropriate content
  • ‘friend’ or ‘follow’ your child on social networking sites, so you can see how they are using them
  • check they are old enough to join any websites or social networks with age restrictions
  • advise your child not to post personal information or any images they wouldn’t want everyone to see
  • avoid using webcams unless talking to close friends or family and consider covering it when not in use
  • monitor their usage and be watchful for any secretive behaviour 
  • encourage your child to be open about what they do online and who they’re talking to
  • offer to go with them if they wish to meet online friends
  • ensure the games your child plays online are age appropriate

Further advice and support

Get Safe Online - Practical, easy to understand information on online safety. 



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