Research carried out by consumer magazine Which? has revealed that as many as 90 per cent of people in the UK receive at least one potentially dangerous scam email in the average month, while more than half are being bombarded with five cyber threats or more.
According to the report, scam emails – such as phishing attempts or malicious emails containing viruses – are growing increasingly common, while the people who send them appear to be finding new ways to bypass the ‘spam filters’ provided by mainstream email providers.
Worse still, the research reveals that the emails themselves are becoming harder to spot to the untrained eye.
While only three per cent of respondents told Which? that they had lost money to a scam email, only two in five indicated that they could tell the difference between ‘real’ and ‘bogus’ branding in instances where scam emails were impersonating reputable organisations, such as PayPal or HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
A similar number said that they did not, as a matter of habit, ‘look out’ for suspicious-looking links when reading branded emails purporting to be from legitimate companies.
PayPal was found to be the ‘most impersonated’ brand, with more than half (56 per cent) of respondents claiming that they had received at least one bogus email allegedly from the online payments company.
This was followed by high street banks (49 per cent), HMRC (40 per cent), strangers asking for money (31 per cent) and Apple and/or iTunes (26 per cent).
Following the publication of its report, Which? is calling on the Government to set out a new, more ambitious agenda to tackle cyber fraud.
Meanwhile, Moore Thompson are reminding our clients to always be suspicious of unsolicited email contact purporting to be from any of the above organisations.
Bogus emails can usually be easily spotted by the likes of spelling mistakes, inconsistent branding and suspicious-looking links or sender addresses. If in doubt, delete the email immediately.