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79% of Staffordshire residents targeted by cyber criminals

People in Staffordshire are being urged to protect themselves from becoming victims of cyber crime.

A new campaign to raise awareness about online crime and how people can protect themselves and their families online has launched this week.

New figures show 79% of people surveyed in the county said they had been being targeted in the last 12 months by fake emails, apparently from banks or other fake emails claiming to be from other companies. 

A total of 150 people also said they were targeted by an online banking scam in the last 12 months and 176 people said they were aware of being targeted by malware, which is a virus that stops or slows your computer. Others said they had been targeted by online shopping scams and someone taking over their email or social media account.

Staffordshire's Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis said: “The internet and its development brings opportunity but also new and changing threats from crime and criminals, whether for individuals or for businesses.

"There is more chance of being mugged online than mugged in the street and it is possible the criminal is thousands of miles away. This makes cyber crime a complex area for police and other agencies to tackle.

“The Cyber Safe Staffordshire campaign aims to raise awareness of cyber crime and also show people where they can access information to help to protect themselves and their family. This campaign is also about public services joining up across agencies to highlight a real threat to people living in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

“In the same way you should lock your doors before leaving home, I’d strongly urge people to make sure they protect themselves, whether that’s online or from fraudsters on the phone.”

Chief Constable Jane Sawyers said: “Most people use the Internet without any problems, however, just as criminals exist in person they also exist online. This campaign aims to raise awareness and to help people prevent becoming victims of cyber criminals by taking security precautions when online.”

Cyber crime is covers incidents of fraud, bullying, theft or grooming that is committed on the internet using a device that can access the web, such as smartphones, tablets, computers or other devices.

Cyber crime also includes crimes against your computer or device such as contaminating or corrupting it with viruses or taking-over your social media profile, email account or your website. 

There is more information on the scheme here.

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