Cyber-crime is a fast growing area of crime. More and more criminals are exploiting the speed, convenience and anonymity of the Internet to commit a diverse range of criminal activities.

What is Cyber-Crime?

Cyber-crime falls into two different categories:

  • Cyber-enabled crime – traditional crimes committed using the internet such as theft, harassment, fraud, identity theft, selling stolen goods, drug dealing.
  • Cyber-dependent crime - online crimes where a digital system is the target. These include attacks on computer systems to disrupt IT infrastructures, such as; unauthorised access (hacking), malicious software programming (malware) or denial of service attacks.

If you think your business, school or local community would benefit from a cyber-crime prevention presentation please contact Dorset Police's Cyber-Crime Prevention Officer by emailing

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  • Check that a websites address is genuine by looking for misspellings, or a completely different name from what you would expect.
  • Roll your mouse pointer over a link to reveal its real destination. Beware if this is different from what is displayed in the text.
  • Do not enter personal information on a website that has no padlock in the browser or https:// at the beginning of the address.
  • Websites which request more personal info than you would expect are probably malicious.
  • Check the address in the browser address bar to ensure it matches the address you typed.
  • Promises online of high returns are often fraudulent.
  • Be wary of websites which promote schemes that involve the recruitment of others, receiving money for other people or advance payments.
  • Be wary of websites that are advertised in unsolicited emails from strangers.
  • Some cookies can be used by criminals to build a profile of you with a view to fraud;
    • Use an anti-spyware program that scans for so called tracker cookies
    • UK websites must gain your permission to enable cookies.
  • Always ensure you are running the latest version of your chosen browser.
  • Ensure you have effective and updated antivirus/antispyware software and firewall running before you go online.
  • Use ‘strong’ passwords, and keep your passwords secure, i.e. use at least 8 characters, include numbers and letters, both upper and lower case.
  • Update your computer security, anti-viral software and install a firewall.
  • Delete and block spam or junk emails.  Be careful when opening attachments or using internet downloads.
  • Secure and encrypt wireless networks when using WiFi (Wireless Internet access).
  • Make sure your internet browser and any plug-ins are updated (e.g. Flash, Java, Silverlight).
  • Use reputable companies when shopping online.
  • Use secure payment methods, such as PayPal or credit cards for online purchases.
  • Be aware of scams: criminal gangs operate ‘scams’ and use the internet as one of the methods to defraud people and business, i.e. asking for money to pay for travel, finance a sick relative, or winning the lottery;
    • They may try passing off as your bank and ask for your banking details
    • They may also pretend to be Microsoft or your internet provider stating your computer has been corrupted and they want you to click on a link or download some software. 
  • Protect your identity. Remember if you share any pictures or information with anyone online you will lose control of it.  In the simplest terms, if you do not want the world to know something, don't put it on the internet.

Remember: If it’s too good to be true – then it probably is!

For more online advice visit Get Safe Online.

If you think your local community would benefit from a cyber-crime prevention input please contact Dorset Police's Cyber-Crime Prevention Officer by emailing

Cyber bullying includes bullying via text message, instant messenger services, social network sites and email, as well as via images or videos posted on the internet or spread by mobile phone.

Follow this link for more support around bullying and cyber bullying.

If you think your business would benefit from a cyber-crime prevention input please contact Dorset Police's Cyber-Crime Prevention Officer, by emailing

For information on what small businesses need to know about cyber security - download the Small Business Cyber Security Information Booklet (943kb PDF). 

The prevention of cyber-crime is a key priority for Dorset Police and the Dorset Police Cyber Crime Unit is focused on ensuring a response to all forms of cyber-crime impacting on our communities.

The objective of the Cyber-Crime Unit is to ensure that investigations carried out by Dorset Police into such offences, are supported with specialist knowledge by appropriately skilled officers, as this type of criminality is often complex in nature and methodology.

We want to ensure that victims of such offences receive a high level of service and appropriate crime prevention advice to lessen the impact of the crime and reduce the likelihood of them being victims again in the future.

The unit works in conjunction with regional and national units to ensure that they remain skilled and equipped to face the challenge of fighting crime in Cyberspace.

Follow this link to visit the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit, Zephyr. 

If you have been a victim of a cyber-crime please report it online here.

Alternatively if you wish to speak with someone call 101 or contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040,

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