When the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) first included cybercrime in its figures, the Office for National Statistics estimated levels of crime doubled. The ONS figures point towards an estimated 5.1 million cybercrimes and frauds and 2.5 million offences under the Computer Misuse Act – including hacking, identity theft and spread of malware – in the year leading up to June 2015 (ONS 2015). Of this estimate, 237,494 offences reported by victims to Action Fraud, a 13% increased on the previous year's figures (ONS 2015: 93). In addition, the total number of computer misuse crime reported to the police in the same period was 15,189. Wales has not been immune: for example, in June 2014 alone there were 615 reports of cybercrime and fraud within the Southern Wales region alone, with an estimated total cost of £3.1m (South Wales Police 2015). In addition, it was widely reported in the media that a young man was arrested in South Wales in connection with the recent TalkTalk hack. Yet there remains no evidence-based understanding of ID theft and on-line fraud victimisation within Wales. As such, using victim-report data to profile cybercrime victims in Wales provides an important insight into cybercrime victimisation within the region and a blueprint for further research beyond Wales.
This project employs a mixed methods methodology to profile the victims of cybercrime and fraud in Wales. In partnership with the Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU), this research has identified ActionFraud administrative records, providing data on cybercrime victims for the four Welsh police force areas. A combination of quantitative and qualitative methods will be then be employed to analyse these data, so as to develop an empirically-grounded understanding of cyber victimisation in Wales. In addition, data-linkages and qualitative interviews with practitioners will be explored.