Phishing attacks hit record high

Financial sector top target for hackers

InvestigateTV - One million attacks in just the first three months of 2022, that’s a new record for the number of phishing attempts by cybercriminals, according to a new industry survey by the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG), an organization that analyzes cybercrime.

Nathanael McCormick was one of those victimized by phishing attacks.

McCormick said one morning he woke to a hacked Facebook account. He later learned scammers were using his account to target his friends.

”All of my friends got weird messages,” McComick said.

Those messages sent to his friends said “look who died” with a bunch of sad emoji faces and a link designed to get them to click. Anyone who clicked that link could have jeopardized their critical, personal information.

The AWPG’s report show McCormick and his friends were not alone. Its latest data showed phishing reached an all-time high in the first quarter of 2022.

“We’ve had and filed reports that have been verified through our system of well over a million records,” Peter Cassidy, the group’s Secretary General said.

Data from APWG identified the industries targeted most often by phishing attacks. The top four are:

  • finance 23.6%
  • email/web-based software 20.5%
  • ecommerce 14.6%
  • social media 12.5%

To help protect yourself, slow down and make sure the messages you receive make sense, Cassidy said. Also, keep your internet security software up to date, and if you need to pay to update your computers make sure you find qualified people to help you.

Nathanael McCormick was able to change his passwords and secure his account. He hopes his story will help protect others from being hacked or scammed.

If you are a victim of a phishing scam or any other type of fraud, file a complaint at Fraud.org or with the Federal Trade Commission by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP.

To read the full APWG Phishing trends report click here.

Caresse Jackman

Caresse Jackman

Caresse Jackman is a national consumer investigative reporter with a focus on exposing scams and digging into consumer concerns.