Cyber crime | Most common UK online offences

These are the ten most common cyber-crimes in the UK, with number of cases reported in the year to June 2016

1. Bank account fraud – 2,356,000

Criminals trick their way to get account details. For example: “Phishing” emails contain links or attachments that either take you to a website that looks like your bank’s, or install malware on your system. A 2015 report by Verizon into data breach investigations has shown that 23pc of people open phishing emails.

2. Non-investment fraud – 1,028,000

AKA Ponzi schemes. Examples include penny stocks, pension liberation, and investment in commodities, such as wine or art, that later prove worthless

3. Computer virus – 1,340,000

Unauthorised software damages or takes control of your machine. For example: “Ransomware” encrypts your files and pictures then demands a payment to restore your access to it

4. Hacking – 681,000

Criminals exploit security weaknesses to illegally access other machines or networks. They steal sensitive data or subvert machines for their own purposes, such as sending spam or launching other cyber attacks

5. Advance fee fraud – 117,000

The victim is promised access to a great deal of money in return for a smaller upfront payment. For example, the classic “Nigerian Prince” email scam

6. Other fraud – 116,000

One example is “solicitor scams”, where a solicitor’s website is hacked, then clients asked to divert large payments into the criminals’ bank accounts.

7. Harassment and stalking – 18,826

Threats, abuse and online bullying – what’s commonly been termed“trolling” on social media

8. Obscene publications – 6,292

Pornography that meets the definition of the Obscene Publications Act, thus generally involving some form of physical abuse

9. Child sexual offences – 4,184

Assault, grooming, indecent communication, coercing a child to witness a sex act. These crimes may be being under-reported

10. Blackmail – 2,028

This includes threats to publish intimate photographs online

Source: Office for National Statistics