Do People Understand Different Kinds Of Phishing? Recent Report Revealed the Truth

All kinds of cybercrimes are increasing, revealed a survey report by Secuirity.org as well as the latest FBI Internet Crime Report. Awareness is spread through continuous coverage but that is not sufficient for victims.

Since 2015, a 59 percent increase in Phishing, Pharming, Smishing and Vishing has been witnessed. FBI Internet Crime Report showed that the other categories of scam also had a major rise in the past few years. In between 2015 to 2018, online investment scams rose up to 104 percent, personal data breach up to 158 percent, whereas extortion has increased the most, 187 percent. However, misrepresentation has comparatively the least amount of change in the number of crime victims, limiting to 9 percent.



Crimes victims based on confidence fraud or romance had been up to 48 percent, followed by gambling, 38 percent, and lottery/Sweepstakes being up to 34 percent. Percentage of crime victims like harassment has changed up to 24 percent, charity relates cybercrimes were reported to be 20 percent and there had been a 16 percent change in IPR/ Copyright and Counterfeit victims.

Though crimes like Business Email Compromise had more rise, up to 160%, in the past few years, but still more cases (around 26,379) related to phishing were reported in 2018. Nonpayment or nondelivery is the kind of online crimes that had the most number of reported victims, 65,116 but had a 3 percent decrease since 2015.


The good thing is that people are actually aware of online crimes. Security.org surveyed 933 people to ask whether they know about phishing scams or not and 96 percent of them said they do. Though people often tend to lie, therefore they were asked to identify the right definition of phishing. Out of the surveyed people, 88 percent of them accurately defined the term.

Unfortunately, many people consider phishing to be possible only through email. Around half of them were unaware that it could be possible through software fraud, which is the major source of occurring phishing, and malware as well. Very few know that it can happen over text messages as well as via web ads and social media.



Around 47 percent of people surveyed did not believe that phishing is possible through fraudulent software, 43 percent were denial when it comes to phishing via web advertisements and 30 percent did not believe it was possible through social media as well.

Phishing through Phone calls and text messages was however denied by only 26 percent and 22 percent respectively. Whereas the majority believed that email was the major source of phishing, and only 2 percent did not believe it.

The surveyed respondents were then asked to identify the phishing scam. Things are not as simple and safe as they might sound. Only 5 percent of them were able to correctly answer all the questions, whereas 12 percent of them gave completely wrong answers. Out of the questions asked, 60 percent were answered incorrectly. If someone knows the basic of phishing does not mean they can easily spot it. They were better at identifying the legitimate emails, and Gen X was comparatively better at it.

People who claimed that they avoid getting phished were asked for advice about how to keep yourself safe. Almost 86 percent of them said they do not open/ click any email from an unknown sender. 80 percent of them said they simply ignore the emails sent from an unknown person. While 74 percent of them use spam filters to avoid such emails.

Read next: The Why and How of Securing Your WhatsApp Account

Featured photo: Freepik / Master1305

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