Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire | WYPCC

Cyber Crime Advice

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Cyber bullying

Online bullying or "cyber bullying" is the use of electronic media, especially a mobile phone, tablet or home computer to intimidate, threaten or upset someone. Cyber bullying, like bullying in schools, the street or at home causes the recipient misery and upset.

Research suggests that cyber bullying is most common among teenagers - with at least one in five having been a victim of it.

  • Texting, posting or emailing anything that deliberately offends someone is cyber bullying - think before you post / tweet / press send.
  • Cyber bullying can take place on social media, via mobile phones and tablets through apps and texts - and in online games.
  • If you are a victim of cyber bullying take screen shots of the posts and talk to someone you trust.
  • If cyber bullying occurs thorugh a social networking site / app report incidents to the site / app in question.
  • Keeping passwords private and locking phones and tablets can help prevent cyberbullying.
  • If you or your child is a victim of cyberbullying encourage them to block or delete the bully and report it to the website in question.

Useful links

Advice for Businesses  

Businesses can be just as susceptible to cyber crime as individuals  -  keep yourself and your business safe online. Many small and medium sized businesses underestimate the threat cyber crime poses to their business.

The most common problems faced by businesses are ;

  • Staff exposing IT systems to malware by plugging in external devices and USB sticks
  • Opening infected emails or using unsafe websites with malicious code.
  • Poor / unsecure passwords and out-of-date software.


  • If you're a small business with a PBX (Private Branch Exchange) or VoIP (Voice of IP) phone system ensure you use secure passwords.
  • Always use the latest versions of computer software and ensure 'patches' and updates are applied as soon as possible.
  • Ensure computer firewalls and anti virus software is installed, running correctly and fully up to date.  

Useful Links

Child Sexual Exploitation

Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) is where someone takes advantage of a child sexually for their own benefit.

Some people use technology to make contact with children and young people with the intention of "grooming" them. To groom someone is to prepare someone to do something sexual for the benefit of the person making contact.

Those who seek to groom children or young people might try to gain their trust by using a fake profile picture and fake personal details and by pretending to have similar interests as them.

People who try to groom children and young people want them to believe their lies so that they can get information about:

  • their age
  • where they live
  • who else might use the computer that they use or
  • who else has access to their mobile phone

Below are tips and advice to both parents and children, including knowing the signs that CSE may be happening, or if you are a child who to turn to if you are a victim.

Advice to parents

  • Could you recognise the signs of child sexual exploitation? Our Know The Signs campaign details what to look out for.
    Some of the visible signs may be :
    • Regularly missing from home or school and staying out all night
    • Change in behaviour - becoming aggressive and disruptive or quiet and withdrawn.
    • Unexplained gifts or new possessions such as clothes, jewellery, mobile phones or money that can't be accounted for.
    • Increase in mobile phone use or secretive use
    • Appearing to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol
    • Being picked up or dropped off in cars by unknown adults
    • A significantly older 'boyfriend' or 'friend' or lots of new friends
    • Spending excessive amount of time online and becoming increasingly secretive about time spent online
    • Sudden involvement in criminal behaviour or increased offending
    • Sexual health problems
  • Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) can take place online - on smartphones, tablets and computers. Do you know who your children are talking to online? See our information about keeping young people safe on the web
  • Talking to your children about what they are doing online is one of the best ways to keep them safe.
  • Social media might seem confusing if you don't use it yourself - our simple guides can help parents keep children safe online
  • Our simple guides explain how to set privacy settings on websites such as Facebook and Twitter and also on games consoles.

Advice to young people

  • Some people will use false accounts and fake photos to trick victims of online grooming. Read more with our Who R U Talking 2 campaign
  • If you are worried about online grooming there are people who can help, who won't blame or judge you - find out more and get help
  • People may not always be who they say they are online. Never accept 'friend requests' or give personal information to people you only know online.
  • Ensure your privacy settings on social media accounts are set appropriately, so only people you want to can see your profile.
  • Always keep your passwords and personal information private to stay safe online. Remember people might not be who they say they are. Read more with our Who R U Talking 2 campaign
  • If anyone asks you to do something online that you aren't comfortable with, such as sending photos or on webcam, you should tell an adult you trust. 

Useful Links

Online Fraud

Online fraud covers a variety of incidents - including online banking, auction websites, identity theft and online shopping to name just a few.  Users often forget that they are not dealing face to face with somone and believe what they see to be true, without reservation, or the sort of caution you might apply in dealing with someone face to face.

Stay safe online by taking some simple precautions.

Auction websites

  • Online auctions are popular with shoppers -  when using auction sites always use strong passwords and never give your passwords to anyone
  • When paying on auction sites never transfer the money direct to a bank account, secure sites such as PayPal are usually safer - however payments can be reversed - check the seller's feedback before making a purchase.
  • Always make sure you have received payment for sales on auction sites before you despatch the goods - and when posting, use a fully tracked and signed for postal service.
  • Remember if something appears too good to be true, then it usually is.

Online banking

  • If you use online banking it's important you keep passwords and personal details private to stop criminals accessing your account
  • Banks will never ask you to reveal your full password on the phone or by email.
  • When using online banking be aware of who can see your screen and make sure you log out properly.

Online shopping

  • Shopping online can often save time and effort but there are risks too. When shopping online make sure the retailer is reputable, research them online and make sure they have an address and phone number.
  • Look out for secure "httpS" links in the address of the website to ensure the site is secure in its payment/form handling methods.
  • Paying online by credit card can offer greater protection than other payment methods.
  • Try to use different passwords for different websites - sharing passwords can be very risky.
  • Fake scam versions of corporate sites may be set up that look almost identical to the original site - yet may be completely fake. Always check the web address of the page and ensure it is the official website.

Phishing Emails

  • Phishing is where an email is sent asking you to log on to your banking website or a shopping website by way a spoof / fake website. This website looks genuine and can be a clone of the genuine site. Once you log on this website then captures your login details and these can be used fraudulently.
  • Always check the web address of the web page you are visiting and ensure it is the official website.
  • Never reply to these emails - you may then be added to a 'suckers' list and receive more emails of a similar kind.

Useful Links

Harassment / Stalking

With the increasing ease of access to the internet, harassment and stalking has become easier for those who carry it out - this makes it easier to do so either as an extension of existing harassment / stalking activities, or purely based online. Unwanted persistent and frequent contact from another individual is highly undesirable and the outcome to either male or female victims ranges from discomfort and annoyance, through to severe distress and mental trauma.

  • Stalking and harassment can take place online or in person and can be extremeley traumatic for victims.
  • Monitoring someone's internet use, emails, texts or other communication is stalking and this is a criminal offence.
  • If you are worried about stalking or harassment call the national helpline on 0808 802 0300 or police on 101 in an emergency always dial 999.
  • If you are a victim of cyberstalking gather as much evidence as you can and report it to police on 101.
  • If you are a victim of "revenge porn" contact the new Revenge Porn Helpline on 0845 6000 459 - the helpline offers details of free legal advice and signposting to additional support services such as Women's Aid, Stalking helpline or Relate if required.
  • To protect yourself from cyberstalking keep online personal info to a minimum and regularly change your online passwords.
  • Most social networking sites / apps have a means of reporting harassment / stalking -

Useful links

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