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Minutes of the 378h meeting held at 10:00 in Stokesley Town Hall on Tuesday 16h July 2019

Speaker Jerry Hollands: How to avoid Cyber Crime

Jerry has worked as a Special Constable with North Yorkshire police and on his retirement was asked to remain as a police volunteer working within the cyber crime team. His hobbies include narrow boating and being a member of York PROBUS.

The talk began with an explanation of what cyber crime involves. Anything that is or can be connected to the Internet can be involved or used to commit cyber crime, computers, tablets smart phones etc.

The problem is big and becoming bigger and involves both the young and old. The old especially are targeted because normally they have the most disposable income and are not as familiar with the Internet as younger people.

In 2015 44% of adults were victims of cyber crime, with 70% of fraud cyber enabled. Romance scams reached 24.5 million in one year and the costs involved in solving these crimes are soaring. The Metropolitan Police issued statistics showing that only 1 in a 100 of these crimes are solved. This is partly because the people committing these crimes are out of the jurisdiction of the police forces involved.

The two main factors driving cyber crime are fear and greed. These can include such things as data, information, money, controlling persons actions, socially and even romance.

Cyber dependent fraud is dependent on people having a device connected to the Internet, cyber enabled is more like the old fashioned fraud but made easier using electronic devices.

Unless one is a hermit living in a cave anyone is at risk. Someone knocking on the door could be trying in some way to commit fraud.

However as soon as one switches on a device then that is all that is needed to become a victim of crime.

PHISHING is used the same way as bait. There are several ways to spot if an email is a scam. These include using a blatant wrong address, very poor grammar/spelling, wrong name used, having pressure applied by saying that action on the email is very urgent, information is required by the sender and the text used is an image. Jerry used a slide to show an example of a phishing email and pointed out the errors that can be spotted and used to prove it was a scam.

Attachments on emails are a big danger and should never be opened unless the receiver is absolutely certain that the email is genuine. Other schemes include the request for bank details from emails from people pretending to be from your bank and fake virus software that once opened release the virus into the device.

Identity theft is another big problem that Jerry himself has been a victim. Shred everything, checking statements, make sure your home network is secure especially if public access is close to the network and ignore anything that says that you’ve won something even when you have never entered any competitions.

 MMSM Mass Marketing Scam Mail is another scam. As previously stated if you have not entered anything you cannot win it. A real and a fake email address were shown used on Ebay and the differences explained. No dashes are used in the address if they are it is a fake, https the s means secure if not there do not open or use and always check the address for obvious flaws before opening the email.

Romance scams can be used. Lonely vulnerable people are especially at risk.  A fake profile (catfish) can be set up by the criminal sometimes over a long period of time and then the victim is asked for money.

Telephone scams (Smishing) commonly using texts are also used. If any financial information is asked for, if it asks for a certain number to be rung, the tone of the text asks for urgency in your reaction to it then treat is as a fake until otherwise proved. If they have your phone number then they can gain access too other information to help in the scam.

Ransomware is used normally used against large companies or organisations. The individual should get into the habit of backing up all their data to another device so that if the succumb to this they can easily restore their system.

Key tips in preventing scams include using secure websites and have Internet safety software installed and regularly updated. Do not respond to unusual emails. Never reuse a password. When setting up a password use threes random words and a date then mix them.

Example: Random words chair window door. Date 2018. Password 20chairwindowdoor18.

Always be careful when clicking on links/files, any requests for money or personnel information treat with extreme caution and never assume always check. Use Paypal if possible as it provides extra protection.

If a victim of cyber crime telephone the following number to report it 0300 123 2040. If still in progress, the suspect is known or the victim is vulnerable call 999 if urgent or 101 otherwise.