New data from the Office for National Statistics has revealed that 3.8 million adults experienced some form of cyber-related crime in the 12 months ending June 2016.
The latest report from the organisation said that 1.6 million of these incidents were related to bank and credit card fraud carried out online.
This was more than half the total number of fraud incidents across England and Wales in that time, showing how crooks are turning more and more to digital crime.
Another two million adults were affected by ‘computer misuse incidents'. The ONS data breaks this down as 1.3 million incidents relating to computer viruses and 0.6 million relating to hacking.
The true number for both is likely to be higher, however, as many people do not report such incidents to the police, or even know that they have been a victim.
Perhaps the most notable change in the data that cyber-related activities has fuelled is related to ‘violence without injury' incidents. This rose 81 per cent year on year as the data now gathers digital-based harassment and abuse.
This includes the 'disclosure (including on the internet) of private sexual photographs and films with the intent to cause distress or anxiety' and 'sending letters (including emails) with intent to cause distress or anxiety'.
Henry Rex, programme manager for justice and emergency services at techUK, said it is clear that police forces have to become adept at dealing with an ever-growing litany of cyber-related problems.
"More ‘traditional' forms of crime are becoming cyber-enabled, with newly recognised forms of digital harassment incorporated for the first time and contributing over a third to the overall rise in ‘violence against the person' offences," he said.
"This presents a unique challenge to law enforcement agencies, and these stats emphasise the critical importance of equipping our police forces for modern crime prevention."
Rex added that the government must give police the necessary training and tools to protect the public from digital crimes.
"Only by working closely with the tech industry can the police hope to combat this evolving threat more effectively," he said.
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