Cybercrime is skyrocketing with experts arguing it’s emerging as the most significant crime problem, with unlimited potential for fraudsters to capitalise.
Data from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research released on Tuesday revealed cyber-fraud offences increased by 95 per cent and identity crime by 35 per cent, accounting for the overwhelming majority of all reports.
Cybercrime – including cyber-enabled fraud, identity theft, cyber-enabled abuse, online image abuse and device offences – increased by 42 per cent in NSW in the three years to June 2022.
Bureau chief Jackie Fitzgerald says more traditional crimes such as burglary and robbery had fallen away over the past decade but the potential to capitalise on cybercrime is “infinite”.
“Cyber-offending is arguably our most significant emerging crime problem,” she said.
The research used data from the Australian Cyber Security Centre’s online reporting system – the ReportCyber Application Platform – but the information only provides a partial view of reported offences.
“There is no central platform for people reporting cyber crime,” Ms Fitzgerald told AAP on Tuesday.
“We only have pockets of data.”
She is calling for an integrated and centralised platform to provide a clearer view of the overarching extent of cybercrime.
Victims can only report through various national reporting systems or directly to state police.
“Our understanding of this offence is seriously hampered,” Ms Fitzgerald said.
“Firstly, by people not coming forward and secondly, when they do, by the multiple, competing channels available to people to report the offence.”
In the three years to June 2022 there were 39,494 reports of cybercrime in NSW, with more than $404 million lost.
Cybercrime reports across all offence categories increased, excluding cyber abuse.
“Interestingly we’ve seen online image abuse is going the other way,” Ms Fitzgerald said, pointing towards clearer messaging that the behaviour is now acknowledged as illegal as a reason for its decline.
Device offences (malware and ransomware) had the largest increase in offending with reports increasing by 117 per cent.
The overwhelming majority of victims (87 per cent) were found to be 25 or older, with Ms Fitzgerald suggesting a possible explanation could be that older people who were introduced to the digital world later in life could be more vulnerable.