Massive increase in cyber crime in York

Photograph: Kaitlyn Baker

Cyber crime in York has increased by nearly 85 per cent in the past year – because it is seen as a wealthy area with “less tech-savvy” residents, according to police.

Assistant chief constable Ciaron Irvine told a meeting that there has been a “significant increase” in scams – particularly fake emails pretending to be from the council, HMRC or TV Licensing.

A report prepared for the North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner meeting revealed that reports of cyber crime in York have jumped by 84.8 per cent since 2017.

Mr Irvine said:

  • We’re talking about organised criminality that reflects the prosperity of the the local environment and the the the perception of relatively easy pickings in terms of maybe the slightly older population, like the slightly less tech-savvy and vulnerable.

Faster action

Fake TV Licensing emails is a big problem
He said the force has begun to create local records of cyber crime incidents so officers can take faster action to tackle the issue.

But he added that unfortunately many of the criminals involved are based in Europe or beyond, so the force is focused on prevention.

Action Fraud says victims across the UK have already lost more than £830,000 to fake TV Licensing emails.

And City of York Council warned residents last month about reports of scam messages claiming to be about council tax refunds that try to trick people into sharing confidential data.

Council security

City of York Council’s West Offices. Photograph: YorkMix
The council also announced an extra £75,000 of funding in next year’s budget to invest in its own cyber security measures.

A report says:

  • Whilst the council fully complies with Government standards, and has significantly invested in security measures, and latest technologies, the scale of the challenge cannot be under estimated given the extensive information, and web based applications the council operates.

    This additional one off funding would allow for further work to be done complimenting existing measures, focused on our digital platforms.

Pauline Stuchfield, assistant director of digital services at the council, said: “More and more of our residents and businesses interact with us online and in a fast moving and ever changing environment we are continuing to invest to make sure our processes are as secure as possible.”

For information visit the North Yorkshire Police ‘safer online’ guide.

To report a crime call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

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