A new campaign aimed at showing people how to stay safe online has been launched in Birmingham.
The Government-backed Get Safe Online roadshow, which has been visiting cities around the country as part of a national tour to tackle internet crime, launched the www. GetSafeOnline. org website.
It is designed to educate and encourage the public to recognise internet security threats and take necessary precautions to safeguard themselves.
The project is a joint initiative between the Government, the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit and private sector sponsors from the worlds of technology, retail and finance.
They contributed their knowledge about e-security to the website, and representatives made an appearance at the Bullring Shopping Centre, Birmingham Central Library and Birmingham University Guild of Students.
The Get Safe Online website features information about protection against hackers, viruses, fraud, the potential dangers of using chat rooms, the safe way to bank online and use online auctions and other 'unknowns' such as fake websites, and premium rate diallers, which are secret programs that can run up hundreds of pounds worth of telephone bills.
A Government spokesman said: "The internet has become an essential tool for businesses and consumers and has brought enormous benefits to our everyday lives, but we all know there are risks too.
"That is why we are running the Get Safe Online campaign to make the internet a safer place to make financial transactions and exchange personal information.
"It is a challenge that I believe will be achieved by this collaboration between public and private sectors we've created."
Sharon Lemon, head of the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit, said: "Increasingly we are seeing organised criminals turning to the internet as a vehicle for their criminality.
"And as more of us are connecting to the internet to shop, bank and communicate, we need to make sure that we do so as safely as possible.
"Get Safe Online gives the public the information they need to protect themselves." One of the website founders, HSBC senior manager Nick Staib, said the contributors were happy to share their information about web security with members of the public.
He said: "Today has been 100 per cent positive. We really are just trying to share what we have learnt and people take comfort from the fact it is not just banks or the Government or Microsoft, but a collaboration, with links to appropriate software - we have provided links to free software and also advise on how to behave online and the danger signs to look for.
"We take security seriously and it seemed like a good thing to do. We had the information so we wanted to share it." Government statistics have shown one in five people in the United Kingdom believe internet crime is of greater concern than physical crimes with 84 per cent of people in the West Midlands asking for more information about internet safety.