Many of us at some point may find ourselves a victim of a cyber-crime. This may either be an Internet-based scam or fraud attempt, but all too often, we don’t end up reporting anything. Either we are ashamed of ourselves for having fallen for the scam or we just think that there is just so much of it going on in the world that we figure it’s pointless to try and do anything about it. You can and should report fraud and scams because if you don’t do something, criminals will just keep doing the same thing over and over again to other victims. It’s time to fight back!
What is cybercrime?
Cyber-crime is an issue which impacts the lives of many Australians. It is referred to as any criminal activity which is targeting users by technology such as a computer or a device connected to the internet. With more and more people connecting to the internet every day the threat of Cyber-crime is increasing.
Common forms of Cybercrime
Common forms of cybercrime include:
- Phishing attacks – using fake email messages to trick users into providing personal information.
- Hacking Attacks – infiltrating computers, websites and networks to cause malicious acts.
- Identity Theft – misusing stolen personal information for harm or for personal gain.
- Child Pornography – distributing child pornography.
- Grooming: making sexual advances to minors.
- Terrorism – spreading hate and inciting terrorism.
The effect of cyber-crime can be extremely upsetting for victims, and not necessarily just for financial reasons. Victims may feel that their privacy has been violated, and that they are powerless.
Report a Cybercrime
Have you become a victim of an internet scam or fraud? Should you report it? The answer is definitly yes. Just because a crime is perpetrated via the net doesn’t make it any less of a crime. You can do this by visiting the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network website – https://www.acorn.gov.au .
The Australian Cyber-crime Online Reporting Network (ACORN) is a secure reporting and referral service for cyber-crime and online incidents which may be in breach of Australian law. Certain reports will be directed to Australian law enforcement and government agencies for further investigation.
The Australian Cyber-crime Online Reporting Network (ACORN) is the official online authority in charge of policing cyber-crime within the Commonwealth, state and territory governments. This national online system allows the public to securely report instances of cyber-crime. They can also be a great resource for information regarding cyber-crime and will provides advice to help people recognise and avoid common types of cyber-crime.
The ACORN has been designed to make it easier to report cyber-crime and help develop a better understanding of cyber-crime affecting Australians. By understanding the enablers of cyber-crime, they endeavour to make it harder and less rewarding to commit cyber-crime.
Who is responsible for the ACORN?
ACORN receives the backing and support from:
- all Australian police agencies
- the Australian Attorney-General’s Department
- the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
- the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
What can I report on the ACORN?
Common types of cybercrime include hacking, scams, fraud, identity theft, attacks on computer systems and illegal or prohibited online content.
How do I make a report?
To report cyber-crime, or to read advice on how to recognise and avoid different types of cyber-crimes to help you stay safe online, go to the ACORN website. Provide as much detail as possible so they can best process your report. You should keep any relevant information about the incident in case police contact you. This could include emails, screenshots or any other evidence kept.
You should not provide any personal financial details when reporting. You should not report on a device which you think might be infected by a virus.
What happens next?
Shortly after you submit your report, you will receive a confirmation email with a unique ACORN reference number if you provide your email address.
Please be aware that not all reports to the ACORN will be referred or investigated. However, your report will be treated seriously and will help our law enforcement and government agencies to develop a clearer picture of cybercrime trends which affect Australians.
Try and avoid Cybercrime
To avoid becoming a victim of cybercrime, we all need to accept responsibility for our own security and safety online. This means using safe online practices and being aware of the ways that criminals try to obtain personal information online.
There are some practical things you can do to help protect against and prevent cybercrime, including:
- being on the lookout for email scams,
- securing your computer from cyber-crime attacks,
- staying safe on social media,
- exercising caution when shopping online,
- keeping your personal information protected, and
- adopting strategies to prevent exposure to inappropriate online content.