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Protect yourself online

What is cybercrime?

Cybercrime refers to any crime:

  • where the use of technologies such as the internet and mobile phone is integral to the commission of the offence
  • that is directed at computing and communications technologies themselves, such as unauthorised access to computer data

Cybercriminal activity includes:

  • identity theft
  • cyberbullying
  • child grooming
  • unauthorised hacking
Am I at risk of cybercrime?

Victorians are at increasing risk of cybercriminal activity thanks to our growing reliance on things such as online banking and social networking.

Along with this, advances in technology mean cyber criminals are able to commit crimes quicker, often anonymously and against a mass of victims, regardless of geographical limitations.

Cybercrime was the second most common form of economic crime in Australia*, with Australians losing a staggering $2 billion to cybercrime in 2012.**

It’s important to remain vigilant and aware of the fact that cybercrime can be committed in the blink of an eye and with the press of a button.

*Cybercrime: Out of obscurity and into reality – 6th PwC Economic Crime Survey, PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2012

**2012 Norton Cybercrime Report, Norton by Symantec, 2012

How can I protect myself online?

There are a few simple steps you can follow in order to start protecting you and your family online.

  1. Your personal information is valuable, protect it
  2. Create strong passwords and change them regularly
  3. Use an anti-virus program and turn on automatic updates 
  4. If you don’t know who sent the email, delete it
  5. Think before you act online. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is
  6. Watch a Youth Central video (External link) and learn more about managing your digital footprint
  7. Do not respond to a cyberbully. Block the person from contacting you online and report the incident to authorities if the cyberbullying continues

Read more tips for protecting your privacy and security when using social media:

What can I do if I am a victim of cybercrime?
In Australia, different agencies are responsible for responding to different types of cybercrime incidents. In most circumstances, incidents need to be reported to your local police station. In an emergency, call 000 (triple zero).

Type of offence

Where to report

Cybercrime - includes online scams and fraud, identity theft, unauthorised access, modification or impairment of data held in a computer, unauthorised access or compromise of internet connection, cyberbullying and internet banking fraud.

Report to the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (the ACORN) (External link)

  • If you believe that someone is in immediate danger, report to police in person or via phone.
  • If your internet connection has been accessed unlawfully, contact your Internet Service Provider first then report to the ACORN.
  • For internet banking fraud, contact your financial institution first then report to the ACORN.
Financial or investment scam
Report to Australian Competition and Consumer Commissions (ACCC) – ScamWatch (External link)
Tax-related scams, including if you have provided your Tax File Number to a scammer Report to the Australian Taxation Office (External link)
Online child exploitation Australian Federal Police via the Online child protection form (External link)
Other Commonwealth offences, including authoring of malware

Australian Federal Police via the Report a Commonwealth crime form (External link)


Terrorist activity online

Call the National Security Hotline – 1800 123 400.


Anonymous information about any crime


Call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit the Crime Stoppers website (External link)

Offensive or inappropriate content online


Report to Office of the Children's eSafety Commissioner (External link)
Spam (unsolicited commercial electronic message, eg email or txt)

Report to ACMA – reporting spam (External link)


Cyber security incidents for major Australian businesses

Report to Australia's National Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) (External link)

If urgent or an emergency, call the CERT Hotline on 1300 172 499 (24-hour hotline) or email


Cyber security incidents for government agencies

Report to the Australian Cyber Security Centre (External link)


Faulty goods or services purchased online


For information, visit the Consumer Affairs Victoria website (External link)

Breach of contract or defamation


Seek civil legal advice by visiting the Victoria Legal Aid website, (External link) the Federation of Community Legal Centres website (External link) or find private lawyers (External link)

For more information, refer to Federation of Community Legal Centre's Obtaining legal help (External link) section.

Counselling support for cybercrime incidents

Reach Out

Visit the Reach Out website (External link) for more information on what cyberbullying, how it can affect people and how to protect yourself.


Call 13 11 14 for 24-hour telephone crisis support, chat to Lifeline one-on-one using their online crisis chat service or visit the Lifeline website (External link) for more information.

Kids Helpline

Call 1800 551 800 or visit the Kids Helpline website (External link) for further information such as where and how cyberbullying occurs, and signs to look for to help recognise cyberbullying.


iDCare is a non-profit organisation which provides free personalised support to individuals who are concerned about their personal information. Visit the iDCare website (External link) for more information.


Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander flags

The department acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the Traditional Custodians of the land and acknowledges and pays respect to their Elders, past and present.