Is there any way to stop the rise in fraud and online crime? As the latest results of the Crime Survey for England and Wales are released, the Neighbourhood and Home Watch Network (NHWN) looks at how you can avoid becoming a victim.

“People are becoming more aware that they need to protect themselves, but are often still not taking some quite simple steps,” says NHWN Chairman Jim Maddan OBE. “help spread the word about online security. People often think you need to be a ‘tech wizard’ to be secure online, but that’s a myth – there are lots of simple things you can do to avoid being an easy target.”


Three top tips to stay safe online are:

  1. Put a password on all your connected devices including phones and tablets – and use secure passwords that are hard to guess.
  2. Use the highest security settings on your social media accounts.
  3. Never disclose your confidential details when contacted online or over the phone – a legitimate organisation would never ask you to do this.


There might be a perception that online criminals take a depersonalised approach to selecting victims, but a recent survey commissioned by Get Safe Online showed that over 1 in 5 victims of a cybercrime believe that they were specifically targeted by fraudsters, and over a third felt vulnerable as a result. Tony Neate, Chief Executive of Get Safe Online, comments: “Cybercrime is getting much more personal. We’re calling for people to be aware of this and take some easy steps to keep themselves safe. Don’t let the criminals win!”


Acting Superintendent Matt Bradford, Head of the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau at the City of London Police, said: “We urge everyone to think about their online behaviour and do everything they can to protect themselves. Simple measures like limiting the amount of personal information shared on social media platforms and using anti-virus software can help to prevent online crime.”

Jim Maddan concluded: “People associate Neighbourhood Watch with burglary but we need to move with the times and help people protect themselves against the growing problem of cybercrime. We hope that our members will share online security tips and information with their neighbours and help to make life as difficult as possible for cyber criminals.”


  • If you think you have been a victim of fraud and have lost money, you should report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre, by calling 0300 123 20 40 or by visiting
  • If you are a victim of online abuse or harassment, you should report it to your local police force on 101 or
  • For general advice on staying safe, including how to stay safe online, visit
  • For specific advice on online security go to