There were 5.8m cyber crimes committed in the 12 months to the end of March across England and Wales, significantly higher than was previously thought, with fraud appearing to be the most common type.
This information comes from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), who estimated the annual figure to be 3.8m last October. The ONS says that in the past year, one in 10 adults has been the victim of some form of cyber crime, and the risk is irrelevant of social class or location.
Fraud was the main form of cyber crime with 3.8m offences, with bank and credit card fraud making up 2.5m of these, and non-investment fraud (such as online shopping scams) also occurring in large numbers.
Computer misuse offences made up 2m offences, with 1.4m of these being virus attacks. Hacking of email and social media accounts was said to make up the remaining 600,000 offences.
“This is the first time we have published official estimates of fraud and computer misuse from our victimisation survey,” said John Flatley, of the ONS.
“Together, these offences are similar in magnitude to the existing headline figures covering all other crime survey offences. However, it would be wrong to conclude that actual crime levels have doubled, since the survey previously did not cover these offences.”
There were an estimated 6.3 million crimes committed against adults in the same time period – excluding online crimes – which is 6 per cent less than the year before, the ONS revealed.