Jump to site navigation [j]

Crime and victims

Internet crime

Internet-related crime is a term used to describe a range of different crime types that are committed or facilitated online, including:

  • paedophilia
  • internet fraud
  • junk email or 'spam'
  • viruses
  • hacking

This sort of crime is also referred to as cybercrime, e-crime and hi-tech crime.

A snapshot of Internet fraud

The cost of Internet crime in human and economic terms is high, and it’s still growing.

In 2006-07, the vast majority of all credit card fraud cases involved so-called 'card not present' fraud, in which cards were used illegally either online or over the phone. This has been the largest type of card fraud in the UK for more than four years.

Losses from this type of fraud were in excess of £212 million in 2006, up 16% over 2005 figures. 

(Source: Crime in England and Wales 2006-07)

What we’re doing about Internet crime

Nationally, we’ve funded the introduction of computer crime units for every police force. We’ve also introduced crime-specific initiatives to fight:

  • paedophilia – by educating parents and establishing a Centre for Child Protection on the Internet to provide support for victims, conduct investigations, distribute intelligence, and act as the central agency where people can report targeting of children online
  • junk email – by introducing legislation making it an offence for a British firm to send unsolicited messages to personal email accounts, for senders to conceal their identity, and making it compulsory for commercial emails to include a valid address for opt-out requests
  • computerised fraud, viruses and hacking – by introducing various initiatives focused on educating consumers and business about protecting themselves including Card Fraud – The Facts, Information Security Advice for Business and IT Safe (new window)
What if it happens to you?

In 2007, the Home Office changed the way people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland report cases of fraud involving credit cards, online banking and cheques.

Now, instead of calling the police, you should report these types of fraud directly to your bank or card company. Credit card companies and banks are responsible for verifying the crime, and reporting it to the police.

These changes were designed to reduce bureaucracy and speed up investigations.

Home Office websites