Home » News » Microsoft » One in Five Online U.S. Adults Have Fallen Victim to At Least One Internet Scam
The way we learn, follow the news, share memories and entertain ourselves is greatly influenced by the Internet. Many of the experiences that make the Internet so valuable in our daily lives also require us to share information about ourselves that can present certain risks
Today, one of the biggest threats facing consumers online are targeted attacks from criminals looking to trick and steal people’s personal information or money. Many people do not recognize other types of criminal tactics on the Internet and continue to fall prey to these scams (generally known as "phishing")
Microsoft recently commissioned a survey by market-research firm Harris Interactive to highlight popular online fraud tactics to help inform the public of online risks and how to avoid them. Conducted in May 2007, the survey polled 2,482 U.S. adults (ages 18 years and up) who use the Internet. To learn more about the survey findings and Microsoft’s efforts to help protect people from online fraud, PressPass spoke with Adrienne Hall, senior director of the Trustworthy Computing Group at Microsoft.
According to Microsoft, in the past year, a shift in criminal behavior has been noticed. Online criminals have been focused on finding vulnerabilities or causing mayhem in various ways, and have been motivated by personal interest as a hobby or for notoriety. We are seeing an increasing trend towards stealing people’s personal information and money.
Some of the biggest threats facing people online this year are fraud-related attacks, or cyber-scams, tricks that criminals use to fool people into giving them confidential information or by tricking them into thinking they are dealing with someone they trust. Most consumers say they are aware of the term “phishing” (where a message or Web site content requests action such as entry of personal information) but many do not realize that fraudulent online activity is any targeted attempt by cybercriminals to obtain personal information. Examples of these attempts sent via e-mail include lottery, prize, sweepstakes, Nigerian money offers, requests for information updates to accounts or records that have a recognized name brand or company logo associated with the request.
A study from the Anti-Phishing Working Group, of which Microsoft is a member, found that the number of unique phishing sites detected increased 166 percent between March 2007 and April 2007. Since these online crimes hinge on consumers taking actions that leave them vulnerable, Microsoft commissioned this survey in an effort to educate consumers on existing threats so they can make smart decisions to avoid them.