Electronic crime – what it is and how to report it

Electronic crime, also known as e-crime or cybercrime, refers to criminal activity that involves the Internet, a computer or other electronic devices.

Some e-crime relates specifically to computers, such as distributing damaging electronic viruses or launching a denial-of-service attack which causes a computer system to deny service to any authorised user.

Other examples include fraud, harassment, copyright breaches and making, possessing or distributing objectionable material such as child pornography.

On this site are some common forms of e-crime that you may encounter and advice on what to do to protect yourself against them.

Mobile phone usage

People may find themselves in distressing situations from txt messages. Visit www.netsafe.org.nz for information about sexting or for information regarding other txt abuse.

Reporting electronic crime

Reporting an e-crime is just like reporting any other offence.

First, you need to work out if the situation is an emergency.

  • Is the offence occurring right now or has it just occurred?
  • Is property in immediate danger of being damaged?
  • Are people in danger physically?

For example, if you have received an electronic message conveying an immediate and believable threat such as "I'm coming around now and I'm going to kill you", that would be an emergency.

If it is an emergency call 111 and ask for Police.


If you are reporting an e-crime, it is important to keep any electronic evidence. For information on preserving electronic evidence consult your IT system's administrator or security specialist or visit the NetSafe – Gathering Electronic "Evidence" web page.

How to protect yourself and your family from e-crime

You need to know how to stay safe online to prevent becoming a victim of e-crime.

  • Educate yourself about basic online safety at the website of NetSafe website.
  • Apply safety advice to all electronic encounters, including mobile phone use and texting.
  • Educate family members about basic online safety.
  • Set up basic protection against malicious software (malware) such as viruses and spyware on your computer.
  • If a business, ensure your Internet transactions and your customer/client information is secure.
  • If a business, establish a workplace Acceptable Use Policy and inform all staff about the policy by entering into individual use agreements. Monitor Internet use to ensure it follows your policy.
  • If a school, establish a cybersafe learning environment following the recommendations on the The Netsafe Kit for Schools.
  • If you are a community organisation that offers Internet access to clients or members of the public, offer cybersafety education on your website by linking to NetSafe website.

More information on e-crime protection

  • Police School Community Officers teach Internet and mobile phone safety as part of their Keeping Ourselves Safe and Kia Kaha programmes in schools. For more information see School Portal.
  • Victim Support provides support and information to people affected by crime and trauma.
    Phone free 0800 VICTIM (0800 842846)
    Visit the website of Victim Support.
  • Advice for individuals and businesses about staying safe online Connect Smart