One in ten adults have been the victim of so-called “cybercrimes” during the past year, new figures have shown.
Data made available by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that criminals are increasingly making use of the internet to target their victims.
The high level of offences being committed online has led to calls from senior police chiefs for a national campaign to raise awareness about the changing face of fraud and related crimes.
Last week, the ONS revealed that there were close to six million cybercrimes reported over the course of the past year, a far greater figure than has previously been estimated and a sufficient number to double the headline crime rate across England and Wales.
The change in recording practices coincides with a growing number of forces taking the decision to invest more resources in tackling the problem.
Chris Greany, a police officer who specialises in economic crime, said: “Law enforcement agencies are becoming increasingly successful at targeting the most serious offenders; however, the scale of the challenge is such that prevention, and helping businesses and individuals protect themselves, is the only long-term way of combating the escalating threat.
“That includes all industries taking proper steps to protect their customers from becoming victims of fraud.”
Deputy Chief Constable Peter Goodman, of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said: “The priorities for law enforcement are to make the UK a hostile place for cybercriminals to operate, improve the response to victims and develop capabilities in local forces.
“Transforming our response to these crimes is a challenge but it is a priority for investment in policing.”
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