The Yorkshire and Humber Regional Cyber Crime Squad is offering advice on how to protect any internet-enabled gadgets such as laptops, mobile phones and tablets bought at this time of year.
Det Insp Tim Ingle said: “Many people will have heard about cyber crime but might not know exactly what it means or hold the mistaken belief that it only happens to banks or multinational companies.
“Nothing, however, could be further from the truth. Cyber crime takes many forms such as harassment, theft, blackmail, fraud, hate crime and hacking, as a user of a digital networked device you are at risk of becoming a victim of cyber crime.
“But by carrying out some simple steps people can greatly reduce their chances of being a victim of this type of crime.”
He advised people to check their social media privacy settings, consider password choices and how frequently they are changed and be cautious when opening attachments.
The team recently hosted an event at the White Rose Shopping Centre in Leeds to spread the word among shoppers about cyber crime.
Det Insp Ingle said: “Anyone, no matter what their level of experience or knowledge could come along and ask our team for advice.
“The event was free of charge and we had some Virtual Reality headsets, which people could use to get an insight to the workings of the police service.
“The event was very successful, and we got to see a number of people and talked to them about protecting their devices.”
Steven Foster, general manager at White Rose Shopping Centre, said: “We’re thankful to the Regional Cyber Crime Unit for their time and expertise showing us and our visitors how to protect themselves online. Anyone can fall victim to cyber crime and theft, and it’s important to share this straightforward advice from a trustworthy source. We look forward to working with the Regional Cyber Crime Unit again in the future.”
The team is supporting events in North Yorkshire at Sainsbury’s Selby on Saturday December 2 and Acomb Explore on December 16.
There is also an event on Tuesday February 13 at St Stephen’s Shopping centre, Hull.