Phishing scams soar in May: ACCC

Phishing scams soar in May: ACCC

Email, phone and internet scams were the most popular methods

Credit: Dreamstime

Losses attributed to reported phishing scams totalled $185,288 in May, up 190 per cent, according to statistics released by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

This is compared to the April tally, which suggested that Australians lost $63,999 to phishing scams. All up, there were 2362 phishing scams reported in May, this was down 25 per cent compared to April, with 3,153. 

Online shopping scams (1,193) and identity theft (941) were also some of the most reported scams by category, according to the ACCC.

Email was by far the most popular scam method with 3,927 reports totalling $1.9 million, followed by phone scams at 3285 reports, raking in $3.3 million; and internet scams making $2.3 million with 1,142 reports. 

“Despite Australia showing positive signs on the road to recovery from COVID-19, it’s evident that scammers have shown no signs of letting up and are continuing to target individuals and businesses across the country, unfortunately with continued success,” Proofpoint country manager Crispin Kerr said. 

“As businesses and events continue to re-open and the news surrounding COVID-19 evolves, we would expect to see attackers continue to adapt their strategies to tie in with the news cycle.

“This is something we’ve witnessed in Australia and globally over the last few months with misinformation and scams centred around travel restrictions, stimulus packages, and medical advice.”

Kerr strongly urged people to continue to approach unsolicited emails with caution, particularly ones that require users to act, like downloading or opening attachments, clicking links or entering credentials.

“With affected industries slowly returning to work and remote employees shifting back to physical offices, businesses and individuals should keep the same vigilant attitude towards cyber security that they have adopted during work-from-home procedures,” he said. 

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