07 May 2004

CIO Report: Phishing Scam Hits 57 Million Users

CIO Report: Phishing Scam Hits 57 Million Users:

By Erika Morphy
NewsFactor Network

Phishing is one of the most economical fraud schemes around, because it entails a low risk of getting caught while offering a high reward, says Naftali Bennet of Cyota. And as e-mail marketers will tell you, contacting people via mass e-mail is about the cheapest form of communication around.

An estimated 57 million American adults have received e-mails from "phishers" –- cyberthieves who pretend to be service providers, such as banks, to steal account information -- according to a new survey by Gartner.

More than 30 million people were "absolutely sure" they were victims of a phishing attack and another 27 million thought they had received what "looked like" a phishing ploy, says Gartner. Just 49 million of the 141 million online consumers have not experienced one, Gartner estimates.

Gartner extrapolated these figures from a survey of 5,000 online adults. Based on the sample, the analyst firm believes nearly 11 million online adults, or 19 percent of those attacked, have clicked on a phishing link. It also believes that at least one million more people have fallen for such schemes without realizing it.

The most tangible evidence of phishing activities, though, is measured in actual loss: Last year, identity theft fraud from phishing attacks cost U.S. banks and credit card issuers US$1.2 billion, Gartner says.

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