Police Scotland is urging businesses and individuals to be alert to the dangers of cyber-crime – while being aware of the simple steps that can be taken to prevent becoming a victim.

It is estimated that around 80% of all online crime could be avoided if basic security steps and precautions were taken.

Sergeant Steven Gillies, who is part of the Safer Communities team within Police Scotland’s Specialist Crime Division, gave a presentation to Highland charity Blythswood Care earlier this week.

The charity has not been victims of crime – but were keen to learn about the steps that can be taken to protect their business.

Sergeant Gillies said: “We would like to remind individuals and businesses that around 80% of all cyber-crime is preventable if basic security steps are followed.

“Cyber-crime is still crime. People make sure that their house and cars are locked and secure and the same policy should be adopted online.

“Simple things like making sure you use strong passwords for personal and business accounts and being wary when accessing public or open Wi-Fi can help keep people safe.

“Cyber-crime is a very real and evolving threat. However, the vast majority of attempted frauds and scams are relatively unsophisticated and can be defeated with basic precautions.”If something online looks too good to be true then it probably is.

“We are available to offer advice and guidance to any businesses, individuals or the third sector who want it and I would urge anyone with concerns to contact us on 101.”

Blythswood chief executive James Campbell said: “I’m glad to say that Blythswood has not been affected by cyber-crime. But we need to be very aware of the dangers that exist. “I really appreciate the input of Police Scotland in coming to our staff meeting today to advise our team on web and email security.”

Any concerns about cyber-crime can be reported to Police Scotland on 101, while further information and guidance is available at  Keep Safe section.