VICTIMS of cybercrime and fraud in Wiltshire lost £11.6 million in the year to March 31, according to the latest figures from Action Fraud.

Between April 1 2018 and March 31 2019, Wiltshire saw 292 reports about cybercrimes, amounting to losses of £1.4m, and 5,663 reports of fraud crimes, with losses of £10.2m.

Each year cybercrime costs the UK billions of pounds and causes untold damage. Now Wiltshire Police have written an open letter to businesses warning them about the dangers.

The police said cybercrime continues to rise in scale and complexity, affecting essential services, businesses and private individuals alike.

Digital Investigations and Intelligence Unit & Complex Fraud Unit lead Detective Gemma Vinton said: “According to Cisco, 25 years ago there were one million devices connected to the internet. Today there are 42 billion, and the number is predicted to exceed 50 billion next year.

“This massive expansion of the use of digital devices across a wide range of demographics has seen a significant change in the methods criminals are using to exploit vulnerable people and commit harm.”

In Wiltshire, up to 13 per cent of the cybercrime reports were from businesses and 87 per cent from individuals. Up to 78 per cent of fraud cases/incidents were cyber-enabled, the police said.

The top three reported cybercrimes toward businesses were: 58 per cent hacking via social media and email, 11 per cent hacking via extortion, and 11 per cent hacking via servers.

The top three reported cybercrimes towards individuals were: 43 per cent hacking via social media and email, 25 per cent hacking via extortion, and 16 per cent personal hacking.

Three out of ten victims were significantly affected by their cyber incident with 26 per cent of victims requesting support from victim care. Cyber-enabled crimes are traditional crimes, which can be increased in their scale or reach by use of computers, computer networks or other forms of digital technology. Unlike cyber-dependent crimes, the crime types are those which could also be committed without the use of digital technology. Two of the most widely published instances of cyber-enabled crime relate to fraud and theft.Action Fraud said crimes of fraud between April 1 2018 and March 31 2019 were up 21.9 per cent. Fifty per cent of reports were from businesses and 50 per cent from individuals.

The top three frauds toward businesses were: cheque, plastic card and online bank accounts at 52 per cent; application fraud at 23 per cent, and telecom industry fraud at 8 per cent.

The top three reported frauds towards individuals were: 25 per cent online shopping and auction frauds; 22 per cent advance fee fraud, and 16 per cent computer software service fraud.

DI Vinton added: “Modern criminals are targeting multiple victims across boundaries simultaneously, through the internet, automating their crimes, and continuing to exploit victims for extended periods remotely.

“Whether you are running a household or a company, people are incredibly busy– juggling schedules, activities and deadlines.

“We all need to be more mindful of the ever changing face of cybercrime, and that our ‘switched-on’ lives can cause additional risks, so it’s essential that we take simple, actionable steps to stay safer online.”

For tips on how you can avoid becoming a victim of online crime, go to

If you have been a victim of cybercrime report it to Action Fraud. Alternatively, ring 0300 123 2040.