BBB Phishing Investigation: BBB tallies record number of reports as scammers adopt new technologies

Published 4:09 pm Thursday, June 6, 2024

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From the Better Business Bureau:

In 2023, phishing scam reports to BBB Scam Tracker nearly doubled, reaching a record high of more than 9,000. Scammers appear to be adopting new technology and lean on text message-based scams to reel in new targets.

Since 2021, reports to Better Business Bureau show that scammers use phishing tactics in nearly every type of scam, including government impersonation, tech support and cryptocurrency fraud. In more recent reports, they are increasingly turning to SMS-based versions of these scams, sending messages meant to trick the public into clicking on links that prompt them to share personal information or download malicious software.

In “BBB Investigation: BBB tallies record number of reports as scammers adopt new technologies,” BBB examines patterns of reports, reviews the amount of money lost and shares stories from those caught up in the scams so the public can avoid them.

Key findings:

● Scam Tracker reports totaled over 9,000 in 2023, nearly double the previous year and a record high.

● Reports in 2024 indicate another record year is likely incoming.

● Phishing, despite being one of the oldest and most well-known scam techniques, continues to be successful, because of its adaptability to various forms of communication.

● Phishing scams target both individuals and businesses, with business losses totaling in the billions over the last three years, according to the FBI and supported by BBB Scam Tracker reports.

● Because phishing techniques change so often, it can be hard for the public and authorities to keep up with the ever-changing defenses needed.

Statistics (reported to BBB from 2021-2023):

● Phishing (email) – 8,346

● Vishing (call and voicemail) – 7,416

● Smishing (SMS) – 3,486

● Pharming (malicious links) – 315

● Business Email Compromise – 200

Red flags in phishing scams:

● Claims about suspicious activity or fraudulent logins

● Reaches out about unexpected problems with an account

● Tries to confirm financial information

● Requests to click a link to make a payment

● Offers government refunds

● Sends unasked for coupons

● Uses generic message paired with logo of a well-known company

● Speaks in typo-filled and urgent language

● Pretends to be a known authority figure requesting a business payment