We are urging people to review their online security after we received almost 150 reports of hacking in Essex in six months.
Recent data obtained by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) found that between October 2017 and March 2018 there were 343 cyber related offences in the county with a £464,000 total loss.
The majority of the offences were people reporting they had their social media sites or email hacked.
The three biggest causes of these were people clicking on fake adverts or websites known as Trojan horses, accessing other forms malware or having open proxy settings.
Detective Chief Inspector Lee Morton, head of Kent and Essex’s Serious Economic Crime Unit, said: “Criminals use many tactics online to convince people to hand over valuable personal details, money or download infections to their computers, which will enable further fraud.
“They use the anonymity of the internet to gain an advantage, targeting people innocently browsing the web or catching up on emails.
“We want people to protect, prevent and prepare against cyber-crime by taking simple steps by improving your security online."
The following steps we can help you combat cyber crime:
* Make sure your computer has a firewall and reputable anti-virus software to block infections;
* Take care before downloading files. Don’t click on suspicious websites or attachments out of curiosity;
* Spot the signs- these include very slow internet connections or problems accessing programs or files;
* Don’t assume that that a person who has sent you an email or text message or has called your phone or left you a voicemail message is who they say they are;
* By being cautions if a voicemail, email or text message asks you to make a payment, log in to an online account or offers you a deal;
* By having strong, separate and regularly updated passwords, locking your screen if you’re away from your desk and by making sure your spam filter is on your emails.
For more advice about cyber crime or to find partner organisations helping to combat fraud, please visit https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud.
If you have been a victim or know someone who has been a victim of cyber crime, please call 101, report it online by visiting https://www.essex.police.uk/do-it-online/ or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.