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420,000 scam emails sent every hour

17 June 2010 - 11:57 by Graham Miller

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Last year, a staggering 420,000 scam-related emails were sent every hour in the UK. The shocking figures from a new report by card protection company CPP may worry those who believe that they are entirely safe shopping online. In the past twelve months alone, 3.7 billion phishing attacks aimed at people in the UK have cost victims an estimated average of £285.

Of the UK-based adults surveyed, 2,007 in total, 55-percent said that they had been targeted by emails that seemed legitimate from high street banks, this seemed to be the most common form of attempt at fraud. Another popular genre are the 'lottery winnings' scams.

The growth of social networking sites seems to have added to the problem according to CPP, with one fifth of those surveyed receiving 'fake' Facebook messages purporting to be from family members or friends. A third of those questioned also said that they are worried that their social networking account could be compromised.

CPP's fraud expert Nicole Sanders noted that new cases of online fraud appear to be emerging on an almost daily basis, with many consumers all too easily falling prey.

CPP advises Internet users to put some basic protection in place. This may include ensuring that the 'https' is present at the start of the web page address when safe shopping online and entering credit card details. The firm also advises using multiple methods of protection, including email protection that includes anti-phishing and anti-spam software.

A further suggestion from CPP constitutes sound advice: identity thieves are particularly adept at spotting any opportunity to steal the identity of a consumer. All it may take is some basic personal details. CPP advises that consumers should ask themselves why such information may be legitimately required before parting with it.

With ever greater creativity employed in the production of scam emails, it has never been more important for consumers to remain alert.