Suffolk police declare war on cyber criminals by setting up specialist squad with Norfolk
- Credit: Archant
Conmen preying on the elderly, vulnerable, and lonely over the intenet are being targeted by a new specialist police squad as from today.
Suffolk’s new joint Cyber Crime unit with Norfolk has been set up in response to the burgeoning phenomenon of online fraud which has risen to the fore in a rapidly changing criminal landscape.
Last year in Suffolk alone there were 3,102 reported scams involving the internet or technology, prompting the setting up a dedicated team of detectives, officers and staff with specialist expertise.
The joint unit will be based in Halesworth.
It will be responsible for investigating all offences where networked computers or technology have been used to commit crimes from child pornography to human trafficking, drugs and the increasing problem of online fraud.
Nationally online fraud is on the increase. In addition to more than 3,000 reported crimes in Suffolk in 2014 there were 3,815 fraud and cyber reports in Norfolk.
Detective Superintendent Steve Mattin, of 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.”
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Officers believe 80 per cent of all cyber-crimes and frauds are preventable.
To coincide with the launch of the new Cyber-Crime Unit, 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.
Det Supt Mattin said: “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.
“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.”
Know the dangers and how you can protect yourself. View the #TooGoodToBeTrue films on www.suffolk.police.uk/toogoodtobetrue
The videos will also be promoted on the Norfolk and Suffolk Constabulary’s YouTube channels and their social media platforms during this week.
To report on-line fraud or for more information contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040