New data has revealed cyber criminals stole over £90m from people and businesses in Norfolk in 2021 over a three month period.

This is a 2136pc rise from the same period the previous year, between October 1 and December 31, a time which covers Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the Christmas shopping period.

The huge increase comes amid warnings from the National Crime Agency that cyber crime trends that gained pace during the pandemic are now “business as usual” among offenders.

John Greenwood, cyber security advisor for Norfolk and Suffolk Police, said: "With the increase of technology in our everyday lives and the shift to remote working cybercrime has developed to be a very significant crime type.

"The features of the internet that make it so useful also enable cyber related crimes to be committed at scale and from a far.

"Everyone should ensure they are #CyberAware and at a minimum protect accounts with strong unique passwords and use 2 step verification."

How are people being targeted?

Crypto currency scams and hacked social media and email accounts are among the most common types of crimes reported in recent years, according to John Greenwood, cyber security advisor at Norfolk Police.

Compromised accounts are one of the biggest issues, with criminals gaining access to private information including banking details, making it a lucrative target.

Phishing scams in messages or emails trick people into inputting passwords which can then be used to gain access and steal more information.

Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat were the worse affected.

Reports of crypto investment scams have been increased significantly in recent years.

Crypto currencies are unregulated, which means buying, selling or transferring them is outside the remit of the Financial Conduct Authority, making it a rife market for exploitation and fraud.

Scammers are offering high returns to tempt you into investing and are using images of celebrities to advertise the investments on social media, which link to professional-looking websites.

Ransomware and compromised emails are the main cyber crimes impacting businesses.

How to keep safe from cyber crime

Mr Greenwood said: "Most of the threats to individuals and businesses can be reduced by following the advice and guidance from the National Cyber Security Centre.

"The #CyberAware campaign and in particular the Cyber Aware action plan is a great first step for individuals and small businesses to assess their cyber security and identify steps to improve it.

"Cybercriminal are very adept at changing their attack based on the events around us, there has already need a significant increase in Smishing (Phishing via SMS) around energy rebates and reduced cost energy tariffs. These aim to gather data and financial information from individuals."

To keep safe from having personal accounts compromised, Mr Greenwood suggests using strong, unique passwords and ensuring two-step verification is set up.

It is also important to check your recovery email is up to date.

Be cautious of suspicious social media messages or emails that ask for login details or authentication codes.

If you think your email or social media account has been hacked, it is important to act fast.

To protect yourself from crypto currency scams, be wary of adverts on social media promising high returns on investment in crypto-related assets.

Mr Greenwood, who is part of the Specialist Crime and Intelligence department, said: "If it looks to good to be true, it probably is."