In Brief

One in ten Britons falls victim to online crime

Cybercrime now "the prevalent crime in the country" with nearly six million reported offences

New figures have revealed the true extent of cybercrime in England and Wales, with one in ten adults reported to have fallen victim to fraud or another online offence last year.

Crime data for 2015 recorded by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which covers online offences for the first time, shows there have been 5.8 million incidents. That's "far more than previously thought", says The Guardian, and much higher than the initial ONS estimate published in October last year.

Cybercrime is now "the most prevalent crime in the country", says the Daily Telegraph, "with a person 20 times more likely to become a victim than suffer robbery and ten times more likely to be defrauded than to suffer theft".

"At long last, we have the true picture of crime in England and Wales and it puts the former home secretary's [now Prime Minister] Theresa May's record in a new light," says shadow home secretary Andy Burnham.

For years fraud was thought of as a "victimless crime" which mainly affected businesses and banks, says BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw . It was not seen as a priority by police and politicians.

But the widespread use of computers, laptops and smart-phones to facilitate fraud has made the problem more pervasive. The chance of being a victim is the same "regardless of social class or whether someone lives in a deprived or affluent, urban or rural area", says the Guardian.

"That is something that we haven't seen before, says John Flatley, head of crime statistics at the ONS, who agrees that the victims are not confined to one group. "The risk is spread across all demographics," he says.

While the vast majority of cybercrime is made up of computer misuse offences and bank and credit card fraud, the figures also reveal that incidents of harassment – including malicious communications, social media abuse and revenge porn – have risen by a staggering 90 per cent.

Recommended

Deborah James: tireless cancer campaigner honoured with damehood
Deborah James
Profile

Deborah James: tireless cancer campaigner honoured with damehood

Nine financial solutions to ease you into retirement
A couple standing on a beach holding hands, seen from the shoulders down
Advertisement Feature

Nine financial solutions to ease you into retirement

What the Ukraine crisis might mean for ESG investing
A building in the City of London
Advertisement Feature

What the Ukraine crisis might mean for ESG investing

Alternatives to the BBC licence fee
BBC
In Depth

Alternatives to the BBC licence fee

Popular articles

Is Vladimir Putin seriously ill?
Vladimir Putin
Why we’re talking about . . .

Is Vladimir Putin seriously ill?

The mysterious Russian oligarch deaths
Vladimir Putin has previously deployed ‘extreme measures’ to crush opposition
Why we’re talking about . . .

The mysterious Russian oligarch deaths

Nato vs. Russia: who would win?
Nato troops
In Depth

Nato vs. Russia: who would win?

The Week Footer Banner