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Smishing Statistics: The Menace of SMS-based Phishing Attack
Updated · Aug 21, 2023
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“Congratulations! You just won a free trip to Hawai! Click here to claim the grand prize!”
If you’re familiar with that dubious line, then you know it’s fake.
However, unfortunately for millions of victims worldwide, that line marked the beginning of a scamming nightmare.
SMS Phishing or Smishing is a form of data theft, a cyber crime that’s designed to steal information and money. More than 3.5 billion mobile phone users receive these messages daily, but only about 22% of people aged 18–22 can know about it and its consequences.
Get to know why smishing is gaining popularity with the latest statistics below.
How Common Is Smishing?
SMS phishing increased by 13% in 2021. However, data shows that 74% of its victims are companies, not private individuals.
In 2022, 83% of businesses blamed phishing for most of the cyberattacks they encountered. This is because companies use emails and text messages as their everyday communication channels. Employees are bound to open fraudulent messages that ‘look’ official.
While fighting off smishing attacks is challenging, staying alert and embracing security measures for this cyber threat are essential.
Smishing Reports Statistics
The average American adult spends over 5 hours on their phone daily. This influx of usage also increased scam incidents done by phone, like spam calls, spam emails, and of course, smishing.
These attacks dramatically rose by 24% in the US alone. Over the previous year, it has been critical for individuals to stay vigilant in protecting themselves from this danger.
As the reliance on mobile phones for communication increases, smishing has been heavily tailgating behind.
1. Smishing attacks increased by 700% in the first six months of 2021.
2021 was riddled with smishing attacks, alarmingly shot up by 700% for the first six months. This surge is caused by improving sms technology. It has made it easier for attackers to send text messages simultaneously, boosting the efficiency and spread of their operations.
This disturbing craze highlights the significance of user vigilance and robust security procedures against cyberattacks.
2. Individuals clicking SMS-based links are between 8.9% and 14.5%.
Smishing is a social engineering scam cleverly written to make you do what it wants. Scammers who craft phishing texts know the likelihood of a person clicking a message’s link is never zero.
Specifically, the click-through rates range from 8.9% to 14.5%, giving criminals an ample supply of victims if they cast a wide enough net.
For good measure, scammers also engineer these texts as if they come from a trusted source, creating a false sense of security and leading the recipient to click the link without giving it much thought.
3. Roughly 14,000 smishing complaints were received in 2020.
The Federal Communications Commission (FTC) received 14,000 smishing complaints in 2020–– up 146% from the prior year.
These were primarily unwanted text messages sent to the Latino community when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The texts persuaded the victims to hand over personal and banking information for COVID-19 help from organizations or the government.
✅ Pro Tip
If you’ve fallen into a smishing scam, take a deep breath and plan your next move. First, report the fraud to your local authorities, and file a complaint with the FTC. You can also track down the scammer with the help of lookup tools and other proven methods.
Smishing Damage and Loss Statistics
In 2021, cybercrimes cost the world $6 trillion– and smishing contributed to that heavily.
Smishing perpetrated massive damage and monetary loss for individuals and businesses. The statistics smear a grim picture of people losing millions of dollars and valuable information to scammers.
4. Losses amounted to $86 million during COVID-laden 2020.
SMS-based scams rose 328% in the middle of 2020. By the end of the year, Smishing managed to steal an accumulated $86 million from victims.
Like what they did to the Latino community, scammers used the chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic to fool more people. They sent fraudulent text messages, pretending to be organizations offering COVID-19 relief assistance, vaccines, and monetary help.
Aside from the financial losses, this occurrence also derailed the people’s trust and confidence in legitimate government bodies that tried to help during the pandemic.
5. Consumers lost more than $10 billion because of spam texts in 2021.
Individuals lost over $10 billion when approximately 8.7 billion spam texts were sent to US phone numbers in 2021. Unsolicited and deceptive text messages targeted unsuspecting individuals, urging them to buy bogus offers and hand over Personal Identifiable Information (PII).
✅ Pro Tip:
To protect important accounts, check for a multi-factor authentication feature and activate it. This system safeguards better than a single password. It adds extra layers of security and discourages criminals from getting access to your accounts using your stolen PII.
6. The Bank of Ireland paid 800,000 Euros to over 300 customers who have fallen victim to smishing.
(The Irish Times)
The fraudsters imitated a legitimate entity to mislead individuals into disclosing their PII, resulting in a loss of €800,000.
The cybercriminals successfully conned Bank of Ireland customers to expose their sensitive details and approve transactions, leading to a substantial payout.
👍 Helpful Article:
Smishing is just part of a grand list of scams criminals commit online. Knowing the statistics behind other types of cybercrimes keeps you in the loop, further enhancing your ability to protect yourself.
Smishing statistics are vital to understanding how this attack works. By examining its trends and impact, users can study security loopholes and develop effective countermeasures to fight it.
Statistics help enable self-defense strategies to create a safer digital environment for all ages by continuously monitoring how this scam has evolved over the years.
Does less than 35% of the population know what smishing is?
Yes, SMS scams look different and are more challenging to detect.
Why are smishing attacks successful?
It is successful because there is no effective filter for SMS messages compared to emails.
What is the accuracy of smishing?
According to the result of an experiment, smishing has an accuracy of 96.4%.
What is the impact of smishing?
Once cybercriminals access your personal information, they can commit identity fraud and have a long-term impact on your financial well-being and credit score.
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