‘There’s only one you, keep it that way by protecting yourself against identity crime’. That’s the message from Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police as the alliance rolls out the third phase of its #Be Cyber Smart campaign.
The campaign, which has the strapline ‘The Virtual World Has Real Life Consequences’, encourages people to think about how they behave on the internet and raises awareness of what they can do to protect themselves against online crime.
The latest stage, which launches today (Monday), focuses on identity crime and has some top tips on avoiding falling victim.
“Identity theft is the UK’s fastest-growing method used to carry out criminal activity. Once a criminal has got hold of your personal details they can use them to commit identity crime, such as fraud,” explained DCI Sean Paley, from Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police specialist operations unit.
“The internet provides numerous opportunities for fraudsters to harvest the personal data of unsuspecting members of the public and they don’t even have to leave the comfort of their own homes.
“While the vast majority of people know what measures to take to stay safe in the real world, by keeping their cars and homes locked for example, some are not as well versed on what they should do to protect themselves in cyber space. This phase of our #Be Cyber Smart campaign seeks to highlight the simple and yet effective steps people living and working across Warwickshire and West Mercia can take to help them avoid falling victim,” added DCI Paley.
Identity theft costs the UK more than £3.3 billion a year, according to the Annual Fraud Indicator 2013.
Tony Neate, CEO of Get Safe Online said: “The reality is that there are serious criminals out there using underhand tactics online to steal your personal information and your money.
“But, there are fundamental things we can do to protect ourselves which are pretty straightforward. For starters, keep passwords safe and make sure you’re using strong ones too. We still see cases of people using things like their pet’s name or mother’s maiden name as their default password for all their online accounts. We liken this to having the same key to unlock all the doors to your house and to your car. You wouldn’t do it in the real world so why would you do it online too?
“Make sure all your devices are protected with software security and always apply updates when they’re available. Be careful where you enter your personal details and be wary of sites or emails with offers that seem too good to be true. By taking these steps, we can all save ourselves time, money, upset and hassle in the long run.”
This phase of #Be Cyber Smart focuses on phishing, malware, passwords, antivirus and the importance of shredding documents containing personal details.
S- Shred documents containing personal details before throwing them away.
M- Make sure passwords are nonsensical. Use letters, numbers and symbols.
A- Always use legitimate and up-to-date antivirus software.
R- Remain vigilant. Think before you input or email your personal details.
T- Think Phishing. Could that email be from a fraudster trying to get hold of your personal details?
For further information about staying safe online go to www.getsafeonline.org and www.cyberstreetwise.com
If you have been a victim of fraud report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 20 40 or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk