“Help from the public at large is crucial” says Miguel De Bruycker of the Belgian Centre for Cybersecurity.
Safeonweb received 6 million reports of suspicious links last year. After links are blocked people hitting on the link will receive a warning and attempts to defraud people are stopped.
As yet Safeonweb isn’t able to stop phishing emails, emails with fraudulent links intended to con people into e.g. giving access to bank details. It could only block links, but new systems will go online this year and in co-operation with internet providers attempts will be made to stop phishing emails too.
The energy crisis proved a major inspiration for conmen last year. 2021 was the year of corona-related phishing emails. Last year emails about energy grants and fake web shops were plentiful.
Fraudsters are today latching onto the cost-of-living crisis: “Financially these are difficult times for everybody and everybody dreams of getting rich quickly” says De Bruycker. “A raft of channels was used to encourage people to invest in cryptocurrencies”.
Phishing often impersonates messages from public bodies like the tax or pensions service. Take care when you receive emails about parcels or claiming to come from the police.
Many suspect emails last year contained fraudulent QR-codes. Hit on the link and you are taken to a website that requests bank details.
“People need to take great care. Scan a QR-code and you won’t always know to which website you are being taken. It’s far more difficult to checks URLs” says De Bruycker.