Thames Valley Police is launching a campaign to help crack down on cyber crime.
From today (20/11), the Force is starting the #ProtectYourWorld campaign, which aims to raise awareness about cyber crime, as well as encouraging residents and businesses to take action to protect their online worlds and to make a report if they fall victim.
National statistics show that each year, an estimated one in ten adults across the UK fall victim to cyber crime.*
In the Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2017, nearly half of all businesses in the country reported a cyber breach or attack in the past 12 months.
Crimes with an element of internet or online activity accounted for nearly 50 per cent of all recorded crime in England and Wales.*
Detective Superintendent Gill Wootton, head of the Thames Valley Police Specialist Ops department, said: “Cyber crime affects people from all walks of life, and of all ages, and its consequences can be extremely serious.
“Cyber crime threads through many traditional offences. People can be targeted for a number of reasons, with cyber crime taking many forms, and it can take a long time before they realise that they have become victims.
“It is therefore very important that people are aware of the dangers which cyber crime can present, and also that they take the appropriate steps to protect themselves and those around them.
“Cyber crime is a growing problem, with recent statistics showing that almost half of all recorded crimes in England and Wales having an element an online activity to them.
“Thames Valley Police takes cyber crime extremely seriously and we encourage people to not only take steps to protect themselves, but also to report these offences to Action Fraud so that action can be taken to deter those responsible.”
One example of the serious effects which cyber-crime can have comes from a man from Windsor, who has asked to remain anonymous.
Between 2007 and 2010, he invested a total of £21,000 ($37,500) investing in a Texan oil well after being contacted by Justin Soloman, managing partner of US based Seisma Oil Research LLC.
During this time, the victim was provided with legal documents, official reports and a website for investors, and even provided with apparently live footage of work taking place at the oil well.
However, in 2010, he discovered that although the ventures in which he had invested his money were genuine, the Seisma Oil Research, which had claimed to be investing his money, had never done so.
In June 2010, the US Securities and Exchange Commission published on its website that: ‘Justin Solomon of Deerfield Beach, Florida, and three affiliated companies fraudulently sold investments in Texas oil and gas projects to overseas investors.’
The victim is one of 100 plaintiffs from 19 countries to have been affected by the scam, but has been told he is unlikely to ever get his money back.
He said: “When I found out I had fallen for the scams, I felt a whole range of emotions at once; I felt very stupid, angry and gullible.
“I would never have thought I’d fall for a scam. I work in IT and made my first investment after seeing an online advert and website which seemed completely legitimate.
“I’ll never make an investment online again. I’ll never get my money back but it’s not the biggest thing, it’s the emotional investment that has taken its real toll.”
The #ProtectYourWorld campaign will run from two weeks, starting today (20/11).
Please follow the campaign via @ThamesVP on Twitter and the Thames Valley Police Facebook account using #ProtectYourWorld.
*Based on figures from the Office of National Statistics.