Get Safe Online 2016 - Social Engineering

Think Twice Before You Act: Warning from Get Safe Online as Reported Phishing Scams Rise by Over 20% in 12 Months

Over a quarter of victims of online crime have been scammed by phishing emails or phone calls
 Over three quarters of all reported phishing incidents happen via email


18th January, 2016 – This week, Get Safe Online in partnership with Barclays, NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds, Halifax, Bank of Scotland, City of London Police (COLP), Cifas and Financial Fraud Action UK (FFAUK) has launched a new advertising campaign warning the UK public about the dangers of ‘social engineering’ as reported figures from the NFIB show incidents have risen by 21% in 12 months. Get Safe Online, along with its partners, is urging people to ‘Think Twice Before You Act’ to stop more people falling victim to social engineering fraud.

An unexpected email or call asking for your personal details...

Social engineering is an extremely targeted type of scam where fraudsters manipulate their victims into sharing confidential information. This can happen through fake emails, phone calls, texts or posts (and even leaving a malware-infected USB stick lying around), and frequently involves piecing together information from various sources such as social media and intercepted correspondence to appear convincing and trustworthy. The often complex nature of the attack makes it extremely difficult to spot a scam before it is too late.

is probably a scam

Social engineering on the rise

There’s no doubt that cybercriminals have become more and more sophisticated in their attacks and this is particularly evident in new figures from Action Fraud, which show the number of reported phishing scams reported between November 2014 – October 2015 totalling 95,556. This represents a 21% increase over the same period the previous year .

This is further supported by research from Get Safe Online, revealing that over a quarter (26%) of victims of online crime have been scammed by these types of social engineering emails or phone calls. In addition, over a fifth of people (22%) said they are most concerned about this sort of online crime.

Interestingly, the research from Action Fraud found that the reported incidents of phishing scams peaked on 21st October – the day of the TalkTalk data breach. This highlights people’s increasing fear surrounding these kinds of attacks, particularly in light of this and the other high profile breaches that took place last year.

don't become prey for a fraudster

How are we being targeted?

In terms of the most popular channels for phishing, email comes out top, accounting for over three quarters (77%) of all reported incidents. This is followed by phone calls, which accounted for one in ten (12%) incidents.

The top five channels for social engineering scams are:
• email
• Landline phone calls
• Text message
• Mobile phone call
• Post 

For tips and advice on staying safe online, please visit


Who you need to speak to

If you have been a victim of banking fraud or spot irregular activity on your account, contact your bank immediately as there will be more chance that your losses may be recovered

It’s important to report any fraud to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre by calling 0300 123 20 40 or by visiting

For general advice on how to stay safe online, visit

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