AVON and Somerset Police is working on protecting Somerset residents from falling victim to fraud and cyber crime.

The police force estimates that there are between 800-1,000 reports of fraud and cyber-crime every month in the region alone, with many more occurring that are unreported. 

Dedicated fraud and cyber crime teams are committed to providing support to victims of fraud, as well as educating people and businesses on how they can protect themselves.

Kirstie Cogram, the Complex Crime Unit manager and Avon and Somerset Police lead for cyber-crime and fraud, said: “We were one of the first forces in the South West to recruit fraud and cyber protect officers to provide first-hand support to our most vulnerable victims.

"We have expanded our service as we know that, sadly, a high proportion of fraud victims are repeat victims and we know that by providing extra support to victims of these types of crime we can prevent future crime.

"You can log in to Facebook or Instagram on Safer Internet Day on Tuesday February 7th to watch a live session with top tips from the team on keeping yourself cyber secure.”

Police and crime commissioner Mark Shelford added: “Fraud is so vast and there is so much to consider when tackling this crime.

“Undeniably, prevention is key, and this forms so much of the work that the dedicated fraud and cyber protect team undertakes.

“We need to continue to raise awareness about the different types of fraud and what to do if you’re targeted to ensure everyone is as resilient and resistance to scammers’ methods.”

Avon and Somerset Police cyber unit provides talks to groups and vulnerable individuals. During the Meals on Wheels scheme over the festive season, a Christmas card was delivered to 1,600 vulnerable residents which contained information on how to keep them safe from fraud.

Amy Horrobin, fraud protect officer, said: “We know fraud can be a scary topic, but it's rewarding to be able to walk away from our education sessions knowing that a group of people are safer from fraud than they were yesterday."

If you are a comminity group, school, business or parent and feel like you could benefit from fraud and cyper crime advice, email the team at fraudprotect@avonandsomerset.police.uk or cyberprotect@avonandsomerset.police.uk.