Hacking of social media and email accounts continues to be the most prolific means of scamming people online, contributing to more than 5,000 cases out of the 13,357 cyber crimes reported in the six months between April and September 2018. It is estimated such hacking has cost victims £14.8 million.
According to City of London Police, the national lead force for fraud which runs Action Fraud, the cost of cyber crime to the public has rocketed since the previous six months, when the total stood at £28 million.
“Cyber crime is a growing trend with the total losses increasing by 24%,” said Commander Karen Baxter of City of London Police.
“In particular criminals are targeting social media users and online account holders in a bid to make money and steal personal details. This leaves victims out of pocket and at risk of identity theft.”
Action Fraud is advising people to step up their online security measures by ensuring their password is strong and to be careful of unsolicited requests for personal data.
“To avoid falling victim, it’s important that people keep a strong, separate password for their email accounts,” Commander Baxter continued.
“They should also use the latest software and app updates. Always be suspicious of unsolicited requests for your personal or financial information and never call numbers or follow links provided in unsolicited texts or emails; contact the company directly using a verified and trusted email or phone number. If you or someone you know believes they have fallen victim to cyber crime, please report it to Action Fraud.”
The total loss is calculated based on the amounts provided by victims when they report to Action Fraud and have not yet been verified, City of London Police said.