Police in Norfolk and Suffolk are about to get tougher on cyber criminals who use the internet to commit fraud and other crimes.
A new joint Norfolk and Suffolk Cyber Crime Unit is being launched today Monday, June 1. The unit will be based in Halesworth and aims to combat the rising number of cyber and cyber enabled crime.
The unit will be responsible for investigating all offences where networked computers or technology have been used to commit crimes, from child pornography, human trafficking, drugs and contraband and the increasing problem of online fraud.
Nationally on-line fraud is on the increase. In 2014 there were 3,815 fraud and Cyber reports in Norfolk and 3,102 in Suffolk; however, it’s believed 80 per cent of all cyber-crimes and fraud is preventable.
Now, to coincide with the launch of the new Cyber-Crime Unit, Norfolk and Suffolk Police have released a series of short films to warn the public about the dangers of on-line fraud and how to prevent it.
The films #TooGoodToBeTrue show three scenarios involving investment fraud, lottery fraud and online shopping fraud with the underlying message that if an offer looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Detective Superintendent Steve Mattin from the Norfolk and Suffolk Cyber and Serious Crime Directorate said: “The digital revolution and the use of cyber space is now a way of normal life, in which we communicate, conduct business and make transactions and therefore the same should apply in the way we police it.
“Cyber-crime should be viewed in the same way as those crimes that affect our communities and neighbourhoods. How often do we give advice to the public about how to stay safe in their neighbourhoods along the lines of ‘lock your doors’ and ‘keep your valuables hidden’. With so many of our communities doing business online, we need to be giving similar advice.
“The launch of the new Cyber-Crime Unit ensures that officers from Norfolk and Suffolk are committed to identifying these types of crime and taking positive steps to disrupt online criminals and fraudsters.
“Just as importantly, the launch of the video will ensure that people living in Norfolk and Suffolk are aware of the dangers out there in cyber space. Anyone can become a victim of on-line fraud, regardless of age, gender, profession or background.
The people of Norfolk and Suffolk have to play their part too – just as you make sure your doors are locked, you need to make sure your online accounts are secure too. Know the dangers and how you can protect yourselves.Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner Stephen Bett
“People need to recognise the many types of cyber-crime, how it can affect them and how to protect themselves from it, as well as know how to report it if you suspect has – or is trying – to defraud them.
“The films send out a clear message, that if an offer looks too good to be true, it probably is. You wouldn’t hand your money to a complete stranger in the street, so why do it online?
“By raising awareness of online fraud and the many forms it takes it will be much more difficult for criminals to gain access to our personal details or money.”
Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said: “This growing technological menace is a scourge in our society so I am delighted to support this extra investment in a dedicated cyber-crime unit for the county.
“The pattern of crime is changing in Suffolk and one of the biggest changes is in cyber and internet crime. It has the potential to be a significant problem for our local communities and our businesses and I want to be sure that we do all we can to make sure Suffolk is ahead of the game.
“I am very impressed with the #TooGoodToBeTrue films, I am sure it will help people recognise the dangers that the internet can pose and learn how to protect themselves from it.
“It’s an often repeated phrase that ‘if something looks too good to be true, it probably is’ but it is so true and I hope this campaign will really drive this important message home.”
Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner Stephen Bett said: “The world has changed and, while traditional crime may be falling, criminals are finding other ways to commit crime and police forces must respond. The shift towards cyber-crime has, and will continue to make, significant demands on police resources, both in terms of crime prevention and investigation.
“As PCC, I am committed to making sure Norfolk Police is properly resourced to deal with this shift, and am pleased to see Norfolk and Suffolk constabularies coming together through the new unit to develop and deploy their joint expertise in this area.
“As for crime prevention, our police forces aren’t the only ones who should be coming together to fight cyber-crime. The people of Norfolk and Suffolk have to play their part too – just as you make sure your doors are locked, you need to make sure your online accounts are secure too. Know the dangers and how you can protect yourselves. Watching the #TooGoodToBeTrue videos would be a good place to start.”
You can view the #TooGoodToBeTrue films on www.norfolk.police.uk/toogoodtobetrue or www.suffolk.police.uk/toogoodtobetrue
The videos will also be promoted on the Norfolk and Suffolk Constabularies YouTube channels and their social media platforms during the week.
To report on-line fraud or for more information contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.