There were nearly 100,000 incidents of phishing attacks reported in the UK last year as cybercriminals increasingly turned to online scams to trick users into divulging sensitive information.
The figures, collated by the City of London police’s Action Fraud and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, put the exact figure at 96,699 – which amounts to around 8,000 reports each month.
Unsurprisingly, email is the most popular channel via which cybercriminals are phishing their victims, accounting for over 68% of incidents.
This is compared to 12.5% who say they were contacted by phone and 9% who were contacted by text, the report claimed.
Scams are frequently seasonal, with bank and HMRC-related phishing particularly popular in December, according to the police.
The top email addresses that people reported to have received emails from were; Do-Notemail@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and PQ8MPY@m.apple.com.
Deputy Head of Action Fraud, Steve Proffitt argued that the phishing problem is not going away anytime soon.
“It is a means for fraudsters to test the water with potential victims and see how many people they can hook into a scam. For the fraudsters, it is a low risk way of casting out their net and seeing what they can catch,” he added.
“If their emails are convincing enough they can yield high returns and people can easily be persuaded into parting with money or to click on links which then infect their computer with malicious software.”
Users were urged to remain vigilant online, especially when opening attachments or clicking on links in unsolicited emails or responding to emails asking for personal or financial details.
Rather than follow links to web pages, users should type in the web address of the site they want to visit directly, Action Fraud advised.