New studies have found that 1/3 of all phishing attempts last year went after bank accounts or other financial information directly. From 2012 this is an increase of 8.5% in financial attacks, an all-time high for phishing. Most of these financial scams pose as a popular organization, and even worse, about half of them use either PayPal, MasterCard, Visa, or American Express’s name to seem legitimate. Phishing attacks damage these brands reputations and make it harder for the average internet user to distinguish between real emails and scams. Amazon is also used as a cover in most phishing attacks to fool the receiver, with Apple and E-Bay also being used.
In addition to these, recent phishing attempts have tried to exploit conference attendees by posing as hotels or travel agencies representing the conference organizers. Follow the links and instructions provided on the conference websites for searching hotels and making reservations.
Never trust unsolicited emails or calls for sensitive information. Always be skeptical and cautious when being asked to reply to emails or follow to linked forms that request sensitive information (financial account numbers, credit card numbers, usernames and passwords) because it may be a phishing attempt. Review our phishing page to help identify malicious communications and forward suspicious emails to firstname.lastname@example.org before opening any links or giving any information. It is also important to remember that phishing is not restricted to email, at least a third of phishing attacks last year were deployed via Facebook. Be aware at all times online especially when handling sensitive information.