New data from the U.K.’s Office of National Statistics shows that this often overlooked scam has grown significantly in interest – likely because it pays off.
If you’re not familiar with this kind of scam, it’s pretty simple: the scammer presents the victim with an opportunity for a grant, a prize – something of value – but requires a small payment up front (often called a processing fee, etc.).
The U.K.’s Office of National Statistics (ONS) regularly surveys U.K. residents to continually understand the current state of all kinds of crime (both traditional and cyber) within the U.K.
From their Estimates from the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) for the year ending December 2022, the ONS found that advance fee fraud increased by more than six times – from 60,000 to 454,000 offenses – between the years ending in March 2020 and December 2022. That’s a 654% increase!
The growth in this type of attack provides context around how susceptible an average person is to falling for socially-engineered scams. Given the massive growth in the number of attacks, every organization should assume their employees have been so inundated with digital communication since the pandemic that they need to be retrained to maintain a sense of vigilance (via security awareness training) when interacting with both email and the web.