Help for victims of cyber-crime

Help for victims of cyber-crime

Website is first UK centre to pool advice and information

The first UK website to help victims of cyber-crime and has been set up by a not-for-profit group, The E-Victims Organisation CIC. will not act as national reporting e-crime unit, or take on individual cases, but it is effectively the first 'one-stop-shop' in Britain where consumers can get advice if they have been a victim of cyber-crime.

The site will offer practical help and information from articles, fact sheets and case studies covering various topics including who to report a crime to and what to do to get recompense.

Initially the website will include content to help people shop online safely and know what their rights are under stautory consumer laws. As the site develops it will add content on all types of online problem such as phishing, identity theft and even cyber-bulling.

Lord Erroll, who sat on the recent House of Lords enquiry into Personal Internet Security, said: "Online scams today are getting more sophisticated and catching more people out. We need the E-victims service because it specifically supports internet users."

Unlike the US, which has the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), there is also no central unit in the UK that can handle the cases of victims of identity theft or online scams. This was once the responsibility of the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit but this was absorbed into the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) in 2004, which has a different remit.

Plans for a National Fraud Reporting Centre to be managed by a lead police force centred on the City of London Police also appear to be in limbo.

Roland Perry, vice-chairman of advisory group the Internet Crime Forum, and director of E-victims, told Computeractive: "People often don’t know where to turn for help or even know if a crime has been committed. We have talked to Government about this but there is no funding so we have set the site up.

"We can help them determine if they have been a victim of a crime and if they can get redress. Sometimes this won't be possible and people will just have to mark something down to experience."

E-victims will also be able to provide useful advice on trends about online crimes to the authorities, such as trading standards, the Office of Fair Trading and police where necessary.

Since April last year, the public has had to report financial online crimes to banks rather than the police, cutting the authorities out of the loop. With E-victims tracking these trends could help the technology crime units in individual police forces get a better overview of financial and other cyber-crimes.