Email scams effect half of all internet users

The Guardian just spit out this report which says that email scams which try to separate the recipient from their hard-earned dough effect roughly 50% of all internet users. Now there is a story that warms my heart – one that doesn’t dance around what a serious issue spam, phishing and other internet related fraud really is.

The report notes attempts which run the gamut of internet commerce and outright fraud, from paying for goods which never arrive (and likely never existed to begin with) to sending cash to Nigeria (419). Sophisticated phishing don’t escape scrutiny either, with the Guardian saying that roughly 1% of all internet users and received a lure.

The overall impact – 5% of those survey via AOL lost money to a scam. Who did they turn to for help? It seems not their bank or credit card company. More than half of those who lost money from a phishing scam were not compensated by their bank or credit card provider. More than 10% were still awaiting word if they would be compensated.

The Guardian report also outlines some preventive measures, which by default, get enhanced (or criticised) here at Spamroll:

· Use safety and security tools, such as spam filters, anti-virus and firewall software – thumbs up here.

· Be wary of unsolicited emails and pop-ups – better yet, toss all unsolicited email in the trash, and use a pop-up blocker

· Don’t click on links or send personal details if you are suspicious about the source of an online communication – how about not clicking on them at all – phishing lures are getting trickery by the day – don’t take any chances

· Never reveal security codes in full: banks will never ask for your whole code – my insurer ask me for a security code the other day – I refused, and they asked three other verifying questions to ensure I was who I said I was (and that was after I called them)

· Contact the company a communication claims to be from through their customer service helpline or by typing in their website address – waste of time – just delete the message

· Read your bank’s terms and conditions, check your bank balance and statements regularly, and contact your bank immediately if you suspect any fraudulent activity on your account – obvious from the above report, banks don’t really care that much – those terms and conditions don’t mean much to you unless you are a billionaire, or have a great lawyer

Hope all that cynicism helps!