A survey has revealed that adults in Warwickshire have lost nearly £9 million due to cyber crime.
On Wednesday, June 21, Warwickshire County Council and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner launched their report into the findings of a second cyber crime survey for Warwickshire, which was completed by record number of Warwickshire respondents in late 2016.
The survey found that there were nearly 15,000 successful phishing scams in Warwickshire in the last 12 months, over 5,500 residents have been a victim of an online romance scam and 9,900 people have been victim of identity fraud.
More findings showed that 30,000 residents fell victim to viruses and malware, there were more than 6,000 online hate crimes and other online fraud and theft equated to a further 21,500 victims.
It is estimated that at least £8,848,300 has been lost by Warwickshire adults as a result of cyber crime, which equates to every adult in the county losing just over £20.
In terms of awareness of the risks posed to residents by their activity online, only 59 per cent of respondents felt they were at risk when using online services.
However, 87 per cent felt either reasonably or very confident that they knew how to protect themselves online and only one per cent of respondents had no idea how to protect themselves.
Compared to the first annual cyber crime survey in 2015, while a higher proportion of the public feel at risk online (44 per cent in 2015, compared to 59 per cent now), fewer people have no idea how they can protect themselves online (2.4 per cent in 2015, compared to less than one per cent now).
Cllr Howard Roberts, Warwickshire county council portfolio holder for community safety, said: “The results of the second cyber crime survey should be a wake-up call to all Warwickshire residents to start taking their cyber security seriously.
“As we conduct more of our lives in the online sphere, the risks posed to us all will increase exponentially year-on-year.
“From the results of our survey, we can see there are still 41 per cent of respondents who do not feel at risk through their online activity and to those people we would seek to remind that no one is immune from this form of crime.”
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe, who jointly commissioned the survey, said: “I’m grateful to everyone who took the time to complete the survey this year, as it helps the police and other agencies to have a better understanding of the changing picture of cyber crime.
“The results show there has been good progress since the last survey, with more people aware of the risks than before and fewer people saying they have no idea of how to protect themselves online.
“The focus for the next 12 months must therefore be to continue to spread the message that cyber crime poses a risk to all of our online activities but, with some simple precautions, everyone can massively decrease their chances of falling victim.
“I am continuing to ensure that tackling cyber crime remains a priority for the police, while the work I fund through the Cyber Crime Advisors and the launch of the new Cyber Safe Warwickshire website will play a major part in helping people to become more cyber security conscious.”
Sam Slemensek and Alex Gloster, Warwickshire’s cyber crime advisors, added: “Cyber Crime is having a huge impact on Warwickshire communities and the emotional and financial wellbeing of our residents, but there are simple steps that all residents can take to mitigate their exposure to risks online.
“The new Cyber Safe Warwickshire Website has been created to raise the profile of the issues and ensure the tide is turned on the number of people falling victim to online crime in its various guises.”