In a video launched today, Detective Constable Beti Surman from the Financial and Cyber Crime Group and Detective Inspector Glen Donaldson from Argos, a specialist unit in the Child Abuse and Sexual Crimes Group, share their insights and advice to staying safe online.
Police are warning parents as globally, sexual predators and other criminal offenders are using the internet to target and manipulate children and young people across a range of cybercrimes; from child sexual abuse offences to identity and financial fraud.
Online platforms including gaming, apps, instant messaging and social media sites are some of the ways offenders are making virtual approaches to potential victims.
In her day-to-day work with the Financial and Cyber Crime Group, Detective Senior Constable Beti Surman has seen how teenagers have fallen victim to online fraud, often starting as an approach from a stranger, the false promise of making easy money or a product advertised online at an exceptionally low price.
“Young people do believe they are tech-savvy but that doesn’t mean they are not vulnerable to being scammed, with scams becoming increasingly sophisticated,” Detective Senior Constable Surman said.
“There are online shopping scams, identity theft and there’s also potential for them to become money mules which is a form of money laundering.”
Detective Donaldson whose unit Argos is dedicated to combating and investigating internet-facilitated crimes against children, wants parents to be aware of the frequency worldwide at which child abuse and exploitation is happening online.
“We’re seeing a lot of kids having unsupervised access to the internet and research from the Office of eSafety Commissioner shows one in four kids have been approached by strangers online and a lot of times parents aren’t aware of these risks,” Detective Inspector Donaldson said.
Together these detectives are urging parents and carers to be vigilant and actively involved in their child’s online activity.
“Prevention is the key and parents need to have those discussions with their kids about what they’re doing online, opening up the dialogue that no matter what happens, they can always come to a parent or a caregiver if they are suspicious or if something bad has happened.
“Parents need to educate themselves to see what they can do to proactively keep their kids safe online,” Detective Inspector Donaldson said.
To find out more about Safer Internet Day visit the Office of the eSafety Commissioner.
- For life threatening emergencies or a crime in progress call triple zero (ooo)
- To report information to police call Policelink 131 444.
- ReportCyber: a national online reporting tool for cybercrime including cyber abuse, online image abuse, online shopping fraud, romance fraud, identity theft, email compromise, internet fraud, ransomware or malware. Reports will be referred to the right law enforcement agency to investigate.
Resources and advice:
- Who’s chatting to your kids? Further QPS advice and information about reducing online risks for children.
- eSafety Commissioner a key partner of the QPS in enhancing online safety, with a comprehensive suite of information, resources and reporting tools to ensure children have a safe experience online.
- Out of the dark #doiknowu a campaign by the Queensland Family and Child Commission (QFCC) supported by the QPS and Department of Education, providing resources to help young people stay safe online.
- Think U Know is a partnership between Australian Federal Police, Commonwealth Bank, Datacom, Microsoft, State and Territory Police and Neighbourhood Watch. It provides information on topics including sexting, cyber bullying, online child exploitation, online privacy, and what to do when something goes wrong.
- Scamwatch: Advice and resources from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on how to recognise, avoid and report scams.
- R U in Control: a QPS fraud and cybercrime disruption and prevention program.
- Stay Smart Online: National advice on the latest threats and how to respond.
- ID Care: a national identity and cyber support service specialising in identity and cyber security matters.