Think you can spot a scam? 97% of people wouldn’t know a phishing email if it hooked them

An Intel Security quiz which tests the knowledge of consumers about phishing emails and scams, has revealed that a whopping 97% of people couldn't pick out phishing emails designed to steal personal information from legitimate emails.

The quiz asks people to 'spot the ruse' out of ten real emails collected by analysts at McAfee Labs (part of Intel Security), some of which were real correspondences from major companies, others phishing scams.

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The results show that of around 19,500 people from 144 countries that have been put to the test, only 3% were able to identify all the examples correctly, and 80% of all respondents misidentified at least one of the phishing emails – which is all it takes to fall victim to an attack and potentially give away your valuable information such as IDs, passwprds or credit card information.

'Even if you're a security professional, it's hard to just look at these emails and say whether they're phishing or not- every single email looks like a good email,' said Gary Davis, chief consumer security evangelist for McAfee.

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Davis goes on to advise consumers on how to better protect yourself from becoming a victim of scams. Many of these tips might seem common sense but are often missed, sucha s checking emails carefully for errors such as poor visuals, incorrect grammar or syntax, or unknown senders, checking for fake links, and visiting the legitimate company's website to make sure the deal is actually being advertised by them.

Phishing attacks are getting cleverer at appearing legitimate, and because of this, show no sign of abating – according to a recent report by Verizon, which sent out 150,000 phishing emails to test who would click on them, 50% of included recipients were found to have opened phishing messages and clicked on links within the first hour.

Think you'd do any better? Take the quiz here.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...