Online Scams Up 166 Percent

    August 16, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

Okay, ladies, here’s something you poke fun of the men with: While more men than women claim to be well-informed about online scams, more men have fallen victim to them than women.

This is according to Microsoft-sponsored survey conducted by Harris Interactive, which also revealed that one in five US adults have been on the receiving end of nefarious digital plots.

"We found that online men claim to be more informed of online fraud," said Adrienne Hall, senior director of the Trustworthy Computing Group at Microsoft. "47 percent of men said they are very knowledgeable or knowledgeable of online scams, compared with only 36 percent of women.

"However, despite claiming to be more knowledgeable, men are more likely than women to be victims of online crime. The survey found that 69 percent of women claimed they have never been a victim of an Internet scam, compared with just 63 percent of men."

Just add "I can’t be phished" to "I don’t need directions" and "I’ll be back."

Hall said the number of unique phishing sites detected by the Anti-Phishing Working Group went up last year by 166 percent. In addition, this has gone far the beyond proof-of-concept games in the past – phishers are after your money for sure.

"In the past year," she said, "Microsoft has witnessed a shift in criminal behavior. Online criminals have been focused on finding vulnerabilities or causing mayhem in various ways, and have been motivated by personal interest as a hobby or for notoriety. We are seeing an increasing trend towards stealing people’s personal information and money."

Perhaps the most disturbing statistic though was that over half (58%) of those surveyed had little to no knowledge of current online threats and scams, despite that Americans lost $49.3 billion to identities thieves last year, and $5.2 billion to viruses.

Hall recommends a new creed for everyone to remember and pass along: Think first, click later.