According to a study from the CPP Group, there were over 3.7 billion phishing e-mails sent to English citizens in the past 12 month period.
One quarter of the population said they had fallen victim to some form of online fraud and on average they reported losing £285 or $422 to the scammers.
The break down of the fake emails:
- Fake bank inquiries
- Fake lottery or prize draws
- Foreign cons such as the Nigerian 419 scam
The CPP recommends these tips for protecting yourself:
- Install anti-virus protection which scans for viruses
- Install anti-phishing tools which identify phishing emails that trick users into giving away personal information
- Install an active firewall, which updates and upgrades automatically, preventing hackers from gaining access to your PC or laptop
- Keep your personal information safe. If someone asks for your personal details online ask yourself why they would need them
- Be aware that banks will never ask for your personal information online. If you are unsure whether an email is genuine, ring your bank and ask them
- If you store personal information on your PC, install up-to-date security software
- Remember the golden rule: identity thieves are experts at spotting an opportunity to steal your identity and all they need are a few personal details
- On social networking sites, keep your privacy settings set to friends only and never display your address, phone number or date of birth
My recommendations for the anti-malware/anti-virus solution is to install Microsoft Security Essentials. This free software along with smart computing habits will protect you and your PC.