Phishing scams are increasing, costing the UK more than £35m between January and June, reveals a report by the Financial Fraud Action UK urging consumers to be vigilant of fraud.
The anti-fraud organisation detailed that in the first six months of 2014, purchases made remotely via the internet, phone or mail order, resulted in a 23 percent increase in fraud – rising from £142m in 2013 to nearly £175m.
The report said an increase in internet spending had in turn driven a rise in online credit card fraud.
It also added that as high street security has improved with chip and PIN and advanced fraud screening, criminals have moved more towards online and telephone scamming in order to bypass such security measures.
Detective chief inspector Perry Stokes, head of the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit, warned consumers to be aware of the fraud risks they face.
"Be very suspicious of phone calls, texts or emails which come out of the blue asking for personal or financial details, regardless of who they claim to represent," warned Stokes.
These phishing fraud tactics appear to be difficult to spot, as security specialist McAfee discovered with its Phishing Quiz. A report released by the company revealed that 79 percent of UK business users were unable to detect phishing scams over legitimate emails.
Out of 1,755 participating in the quiz, only seven percent of business users were able to identify whether a set of 10 emails were phishing attempts or genuine emails.
More worryingly, the report went on to highlight how the finance and HR departments of almost every company surveyed, were the least skilled in detecting phishing attempts. Only 64 and 62 percent respectively identified real emails from fakes.
These results are concerning for Raj Samani, CTO at McAfee. "Phishing continues to pose significant security risks for businesses and consumers alike. More worryingly, perhaps, is the lack of education around how to spot a phishing email amidst the many emails we're sent on a daily basis," he said.
In order to combat this rise in phishing and fraud, Financial Fraud Action UK advises several measures for consumers, ranging from physical action such as shielding PINs, to only shopping on secure websites and being extremely vigilant of unsolicited emails.
One of the latest phishing attempts to gain attention has been the Peter Pan scam, which saw cyber criminals using spam messages masquerading as invoices for tickets to a Peter Pan pantomime.
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