Young adults more likely to fall victim to phishing scams

The increase in the number of phishing scams is worrying not only for corporations but individuals too. How can you make sure you don’t fall for one?

A recent report from Santander revealed that three quarters of people in Britain have already been targeted by phishing fraudsters. Among these, young adults (25-34) make up the most vulnerable group. The main reason is that youngsters are more likely to reply to or click links on emails without reading them. On top of that, they are also prone to losing more money per incidence of fraud: £613, on average.

Phishing scams can also be carried out via call or text message, though the vast majority (69%) will take the form of an email.

phishing scams

According to Barclays, 90% of cyber attacks start by someone clicking on an email. Research by the University of Otago in New Zealand showed that most phishing cases unfold via mobile since the screen usually won’t display all the information in the email.

Phishing is sophisticated and can easily fool the receiver on the other side of the screen.

A recent worrying case of phishing was the ‘Netflix scam’, where users would receive a message saying that their account would be cancelled if they did not update billing information.

phishing scam


The email looks genuine: the logo, font style and wording match the company’s style. In cases like the Netflix scam, experts recommend that users do not log in to any online account directly via an email, and go to the website yourself instead.

In 2016, Action Fraud reported that it received 8,000 reports of phishing every month.

Consumers and retailers are advised to stay extra vigilant now because this is a busy time of year for hackers. The holiday season is particularly attractive since there is an increase in online retail traffic ahead of Christmas shopping. Consumers are advised to shop only at trusted retailers.

It is common for criminals to send messages to consumers asking for verification of personal information.  For merchants, phishing can be a problem when hackers use stolen information to make a purchase, increasing the chances of ‘card not present’ (CNP) fraud. This type of fraud occurs when merchants take the payment without having the customer to physically present the card, not being able to verify the identity and authenticity of the cardholder.

When CNP fraud happens, the retailer bears the loss, as it will not be refunded by the credit card company or bank in most cases.