POLICE Scotland is urging businesses to be alert to the dangers of cyber-crime – and to be aware of the simple steps that can be taken to avoid becoming a victim.

It is estimated that basic security steps and precautions would stop about 80 per cent of all online crime.

Sergeant Steven Gillies, part of the safer communities team within the force’s specialist crime division, gave a presentation to Highland-based charity Blythswood Care.

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Gillies said: “People make sure that their houses, business premises and cars are locked and secure. The same policy should be adopted online.

“Simple things like using 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: “Blythswood has not been affected by cyber-crime, but we need to be aware of the dangers.

“I really appreciate the input of Police Scotland in advising our team on web and email security.”

Any concerns about cyber-crime can be reported to Police Scotland on 101. Information and guidance is available at www.scotland.police.uk.