PEOPLE are being urged to take steps to help beat cyber criminals.

West Mercia Police want people to help protect themselves in cyber space, with cyber crime on the increase while traditional crimes are on the decrease.

The total financial loss reported by individuals and businesses in the force area being about £8.6 million from April 2013 to the end of March 2014, according to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau.

The equivalent figure for cyber crime in the 2013/14 financial year was about £394,000, with a peak in the amount of money lost in December due to online purchases increasing over the Christmas period.

In terms of volume, the top cyber crime type was in the category of computer virus/malware/spyware with 264 reports, followed by hacking, social media and e-mail with 148.

Barrie Sheldon, deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for West Mercia, said: “Cyber crime is continuing to provide new and demanding challenges for the police service which is why we provided extra resources to West Mercia Police when setting the budget earlier in the year to more effectively address the problem.

“I would also encourage businesses and residents to know the risks and take precautions to protect themselves when they venture into cyberspace.”

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