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National Fraud Intelligence Bureau warns of sharp rise in phishing scams

A new report from the City of London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) has confirmed a sharp rise in the number of phishing scams taking place in the UK.

The number of phishing fraud victims increased by 21 per cent over the last 12 months, the report – which was compiled in conjunction with the website Get Safe Online – found.

Cybercriminals posed as well-known brands such as Tesco, Apple and BT in order to trick members of the public into passing on their personal details online. In 2015, 95,556 people were conned in this way, up from the 75,490 that had fallen victim to such scams in 2014. The phishing scams cost victims £174.4 million, said the report, representing a rise of 23 per cent compared to the £142 million total recorded in 2013.

The report also confirmed that phishing scams accounted for 25 per cent of all cybercrime. Following the release of these latest statistics, the NFIB has warned people that they should be wary of unexpected and unsolicited emails, including those purporting to be BT account updates or iTunes invoices.

Commander Chris Greany of the City of London Police, said: “Fraudsters are using ever more sophisticated methods to gain personal information and these types of attempts have often left victims penniless.

“We urge everyone who receives unsolicited phone calls, texts, emails or letters to ignore them and never enter into conversation with someone that you don’t know online or over the phone.”

Tony Neate, chief executive of Get Safe Online, agreed, calling online phishing scams "the perfect storm". He said: "What’s worrying is the complex nature of these scams and how they tap perfectly into feelings that make us panic.

“That’s why we want to encourage people to think twice before they act and not to let panic override common sense. This way, we can stay one step ahead and stop more people from falling prey to an online criminal.”

The NFIB, Get Safe Online and six major UK banks including Barclays, NatWest, RBS and Lloyds, have now joined forces to launch a campaign aimed at raising awareness about the dangers of cybercrime. It is hoped this campaign will help to build cybersecurity awareness to stave off the criminals before they have a chance to strike.

Filed in: News

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