Derbyshire Police’s new digital PCSOs are urging people to make improving security online a new year’s resolution.
Sarah Dufton and Laura Buchanan are now fully up to speed on cyber issues in their area, and are proactively working out in local communities to help people stay safe online.
Sarah and Laura, who are based out in policing divisions in the north and south of the county, join force-wide digital PCSO James Land in helping prevent cyber crime.
Sarah, Laura and James direct their work to helping people stay safe online, which includes online banking and preventing fraudulent activity, on social media and gaming, and online grooming, as well as being up to speed on the latest scams, trends and threats.
Sarah, who has been a PCSO for almost 15 years in the Ripley area, said: "Cyber crime can be one of the most damaging crimes a victim can experience, and it is more common than you think because we are all going online much more now than ever before.
“We’re here to show people, especially those who are the most vulnerable, how to protect themselves and their family online and not be tricked into giving away information to the wrong person.”
Laura, who has also been a PCSO in the Erewash area for more than 11 years, added: “We know that smartphones and tablets are very popular, and if you’re a parent there are so many exciting games and consoles around, there is a good chance you might have one coming into your house.
“The best advice we can give is to talk to your child regularly and openly about behaviour and risk, so that they know they can come to you if something goes wrong.”
Sarah and Laura are advising all homeowners to remember to secure all new devices and smart home equipment, set safe passwords and make sure devices automatically lock after a brief period of inactivity.
Software and app updates also contain vital security upgrades which help protect devices safe from viruses and hackers so keep them up to date.
Also, back up all your important information and files on to an external device.
You can find out more information about cyber crime and fraud at www.derbyshire.police.uk.