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When Should We Contact The Authorities?

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Contacting the authorities and law enforcement regarding an incident online is something people often shy away from, from a belief that they're "too busy solving real crime" or something of a similar ilk.

 

Why Bother Reporting It?

There are 4 reasons to always report incidents where you believe a law has been broken;

1. Protects you as the victim - reporting can get you access to support networks which can significantly help elevate the effects of being a victim of cyber crime.

2. Protects society in general - help stop other people suffering from what you have been put through.

3. Prevents more aggressive crimes - a lot of criminals get bolder and more sinister as they commit their crimes. Stopping them early can prevent them committing more serious crimes down the line.

4. Helps law enforcement long term - when the police can see trends and the bigger picture, they are able to respond accordingly, e.g. directing more funding into new areas where cyber crime is developing faster than other areas.

 

Here at SimpleCyberLife.com we are proud to be able to help direct our members to the right authorities when an incident requires the involvement of the police or other authorities. In this article, we help you understand when you should get in contact with the authorities (and which ones) and when liaising with our internet safety experts is a better option.

 

What Constitutes 'Cyber Crime' & What Should We Report?

Unsure whether it needs to be reported or not? In short, see the crown prosecution service's website here if you are in any way unsure whether what has happened to you requires you to report it to the authorities.

 

Who Should You Report To?

Financial fraud

Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040 or if you're in Scotland, to Police Scotland by calling 101.

If the fraud has been committed via an online website or platform (e.g. Facebook, travel site, etc.) then also report it to them. This will allow them to monitor your account and collect any information that the police will need.

Identity theft

If identity theft has involved your online banking, credit/debit cards or cheques, first report it to your bank, who will put measures in place to immediately secure your accounts. They will then investigate the case and should report any criminal activity to law enforcement directly. If they don't, you can report it to Action Fraud (as detailed above).

For non-banking related identity theft report it to the police by calling 101.

Online Abuse

Report any kind of abuse to the social media network or operator of the forum, game or chat service on which it appears. Use the in-built reporting functionalities to ‘report abuse’ - if you're unsure whether that website has this functionality, ask our experts in the member forum here and we'll help you report it to the organisation concerned.

If the abuse contains hate content, incites radicalisation, sexualised media of minor or threatens physical harm, report it to the police by calling 101.

You also report abuse to internet service providers (like Virgin media, PlusNet, BT, etc.) as it contravenes their terms of service. They are obligated by law to investigate it on your behalf as it is illegal for them to facilitate abuse online through their services.

 

Use Our Team of Experts

If your incident doesn't fall into any of the categories above, then you can get support from our team of internet safety experts. If you're not a member of our community yet, then simply start your free trial now here and get support in a matter of minutes.

 

Get Support

There is no shame in asking for help. Even if you don't think necessary, contact the friendly folk at Victim Support at www.victimsupport.org.uk or by calling 0808 1689111 (England and Wales) or www.victimsupportsco.org.uk or by calling 0800 160 1985. Even if the crime happened years ago, you can still call them and get the support you need.

There is also a long list of other organisations, aside from law enforcement, who can help you with your issue. Check them out here on the police's website.

 

Not From the UK?

  • See advice here for advice on who to contact if you're not from the UK but from elsewhere in Europe.
  • Advice here is for US citizens.

 

Sources:

https://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/what-we-do/crime-threats/cyber-crime

https://www.met.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/fa/fraud/useful-contacts-for-fraud-cyber-crime-advice/

https://www.europol.europa.eu/report-a-crime/report-cybercrime-online

https://www.getsafeonline.org/whyreport/

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