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Brits hit hard with phishing scams

by Neal O'Farrell on June 20th, 2010

One thing we know about hackers and identity thieves is if they find a scam or trick that works, they’ll keep using it. So you can assume that if you keep receiving phishing emails from your bank, or emails from Nigerian princes congratulating you on your inheritance, it’s not because the criminals are desperate but because these emails continue to snare users.

And it seems like the British are being hit hard. According to a new report by security firm CPP, Brits received more than 3.7 billion phishing emails throughout 2009, amounting to a staggering 420,000 every sixty minutes.

So why do phishers seem to be hitting the Brits so hard? Read on. The report goes on to reveal an even more staggering statistic. 25% of recipients of these emails admitted to falling for the scams. 25%! That’s huge. We’ve always assumed that these mass email scams work because even if only .5% of recipients fall for the scam it’s still profitable. But 25%?

If that trend continues, we know two things for sure: more phishing emails will come and they will become even more convincing; and we still have a lot of work to do when it comes to end user education and awareness.

The phunny thing about phishing, like most scams, is that in order for them to work, the victims must be willing participants. A phishing email will only work if you do what the email asks you to do. If you don’t respond, don’t give them the information they ask for, don’t click on the link and don’t open the attachment, you’re safe and they lose.

But I guess 25% of the British population still hasn’t heard that message. I hope it’s not universal.

Lessons learned?

• Never drop your guard, because thieves are always on the prowl.

• Always be suspicious of email because it’s the cheapest and easiest way to trick you.

Millions snared in web fraud

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