96,000 phishing scams target Brits

18 Jan, 2016

Rise in victim numbers is "extremely concerning", says Intel security

The number of people targeted by phishing scams rose 21 per cent in 2015, with reported scams growing to nearly 96,000 between November 2014 and October 2015, according to the City of London Police.

The research, carried out by the the force's National Fraud Intelligence Bureau as part of Get Safe Online's Think Twice Before You Act campaign, found that almost 80 per cent of all phishing attacks were delivered by email.

Phone calls, at 12 per cent, came second, while text messages, mobile phone calls and scams by post jointly occupied the remaining 10 per cent.

According to the research, the most common kind of phishing campaign was a BT account update, followed by a fake iTunes invoice and fraudulent HMRC tax refunds.

Suspended or blocked bank accounts and credit cards were also popular themes, and many also contained false attachments.

Nearly 20 per cent of the scam emails asked for a reply and 15 per cent asked for personal information.

Almost one-third contained a potentially malicious link, but the research found that this type of phishing email is in decline, while those requesting money transfers are on the rise.

Raj Samani, CTO for Intel Security, said: "It's extremely worrying that the number of phishing victims has risen by 21 per cent. Yet, sadly, it isn't all too surprising. Cyber criminals are becoming increasingly savvy and [it is] important consumers understand this threat is very much a reality."

"Brits must ... be wary of unexpected emails, even if they are cited as being from a brand they are familiar with," he added. "Think twice before acting, calling up your bank directly if you're concerned about anything before taking action. We have to make sure we stay one step ahead of the cyber criminals and caution is the best way forward here."

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