DORSET has one of the highest rates of cyber crime in the UK, figures reveal – although police dismissed suggestions an ageing population was the reason.
The county has recorded 9.1 victims of cybercrime per 1,000 people – the third highest rate compared to other areas in the UK.
The study comes from cyber security company Clario, which suggests a number of possible reasons why Dorset’s population appears to be falling victim to more cyber attacks than other areas.
These include the fact people may not be taking basic precautions and the county’s ageing population, which may be less computer literate than areas with a younger demographic.
However, Dorset Police said statistics from 2020 reveal cyber crime is ‘evenly spread’ across all age groups.
A police spokeswoman said: “Cyber crime affects people of all ages.
“The Action Fraud statistics for 2020 show a relatively even spread of victims across all ages – the exceptions being those under 20 years old and those over 80 years old, where reporting is significantly lower.
“These figures show that, in an increasingly digital world, age doesn’t necessarily correlate with susceptibility.”
Neighbouring Somerset was top of the list with 13.6 victims per 1,000 – closely followed by Northumbria with 13.4 victims per 1,000.
“To help combat the threat of cyber crime Dorset Police works with other forces, as well as regional and national units to prevent and investigate offences,” said the spokeswoman.
“As part of the Cyber Protect network, we offer free cyber safety and awareness sessions to community groups and businesses across the county, as well as a range of charitable organisations.”
“The reporting of cyber crime is vital to ensure that victims can receive the help and support they need, as well as offenders being brought to justice, and we continue to encourage such reporting.
“If you believe that you have been a victim of cyber-crime, please ensure that incidents are reported to Action Fraud.”
The data has emerged after Dorset Police revealed it received more than 6,000 reports of fraud each yer – many of them committed by faceless fraudsters hidden online or at the end of a phone line.
For additional security advice, visit the information contained on sites such as the Cyber Aware campaign (www.ncsc.gov.uk/cyberaware) and the Dorset Police website.