CYbersafety’s Helpline 1480, set up to offer support and advice on safe and ethical use of the internet, saw a spike in calls in the first quarter of the year, but more than half of the calls were not related to the helpline’s services but to the coronavirus outbreak.
The centre said that a total of 707 people had contacted the helpline which was the highest ever. But 386 (54.60%) of the calls concerned the coronavirus symptoms and the various support schemes introduced by the Labour Ministry.
Of the 321 calls that related to services offered by the helpline, 59.19% (190 callers) were women. The majority 95.64% (307 people) were adults.Only 14 were under 18.
As regards the issues raised, 26.79% were cyber crime related — hacking and identity theft. Moreover, 21.18% were about bullying, 17.13% for technical support (how to create, delete a social media account) and issues of data privacy (10.90%) and reputation (5.30%).
There was a worrying increase in reported incidents of grooming and sexual harassment. In addition, the helpline operators had to deal with attempts to defraud through links aiming to acquire sensitive personal data.
The help line is free on 1480. It operates Monday to Friday 9.00 – 13.00 & 15:00 – 18:00 and Saturday 10:00 – 13:00. Alternatively the public can contact the jelp line by email [email protected] and online (https://www.cybersafety.cy/helpline-report) or by chat (https://www.cybersafety.cy/helpline-chat).