Data has revealed the areas in the UK that see the highest levels of fraud and cybercriminal activity in 2022 – and London isn’t number one.
UK police forces reported a staggering 178,689 incidents in the first half of 2022, with reported losses of £1.7 billion.
Using crime figures logged by regional police forces, experts at information security firm Hicomply found that Dorset is the county where fraud and cybercrime are most prolific. Fraud and computer misuse reports made up over 10% of total offences in the area: 2,700 out of 26,730, with 210 cybercrime reports and a rate of 7 reports per 1000 population – and a reported £8.1m in losses.
Highest Scorers Were:
- Dorset – 9.2/10
- Hertfordshire – 9.1/10
- Surrey – 8.4/10
- Greater London – 8.2/10
- Wiltshire – 8.1/10.
The Lucky Lowest Scoring Areas Included:
- Isle of Man – 0.2/10, which had zero cybercrimes in the first half of 2022.
- Scotland – 0.3/10
- The regions covered by Northumbria Police – 0.7/10
- Cleveland and Redcar – 0.7/10
- Merseyside – 1.4/10
- West Yorkshire – 1.5/10.
The study also found that the top three cybercrimes reported were social media and email hacking (8,600 reports), computer virus/malware/spyware (3,100 reports) and personal hacking (2,700 reports).
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So, What Can You Do to Avoid Falling Prey to Hackers?
Marius van Aswegen, Chief Operations Officer at Hicomply, said:
“One of the most obvious ways we can stop successful cybercrime attempts is by recognising the signs of an attack. The data shows that hacking is one of the most widespread cybercrimes we face in the UK.
Phishing, which is a method of tricking the target into revealing sensitive or personal information, is one common method cybercriminals use to maliciously gain access to data. Make sure to learn the signs to look out for so you can identify fake emails and text messages. For organisations, it’s important to invest in regular staff training and awareness.”
Signs a Message or Email May Not Be Legitimate Include:
- The message comes from email address or mobile number that doesn’t match that of the real sender. E.g. A Gmail address is used to send you an email about your bank account
- The message includes spelling or grammatical errors
- There is an urgent call to action with ‘serious’ consequences if you don’t act immediately
- You are asked to click on a link that doesn’t match the domain of the real organisation or sender.
Despite the figures, stats from the ONS showed that overall fraud and computer misuse crime figures had fallen between April 2021 and March 2022. Avon and Somerset saw a huge 81% decrease in reports, and other significant drops included Greater London (33% decrease), Gloucestershire, Warwickshire, and North Yorkshire, all with a 23% decrease.
The full report can be found on the Hicomply website.
- Hicomply researchers used data from ONS, PSNI, Police Scotland, Isle of Man Constabulary, Jersey Police and the NFIB Fraud and Cyber Crime Dashboard to gather information.
- They focused on the fraud and computer misuse crime rate per 1,000 population, the total number of offences in each region, the total number of fraud and computer misuse reports per region, and the total number of cybercrimes per region between January-June 2022.
- Scores out of a possible 10 were calculated based on three variables:
- Fraud and computer misuse crime rate per 1000 population
- Cybercrime as a percentage of total offences per region (cybercrime reports in region/total offences in region)
- Fraud as a percentage of total offences per region (fraud and computer misuse reports in region/total offences in region).
- The percent rank formula was used across these variables to calculate a final fraud and cybercrime score.
- The higher the score, the higher the level of fraud and cybercrime in the area against total offences. The lower the score, the lower the level of fraud and cybercrime in the area against total offences.