Norton Consumer Cyber Safety Pulse Report: A look at the most common online scams in 2023


Scams, phishing and other forms of human manipulation make up over 75% of all digital threats

Norton, a consumer Cyber Safety brand of Gen™, released its latest Consumer Cyber Safety Pulse Report, which gives an in-depth look at the most recent scams, including those surrounding online retailers, sextortion, tech support, crypto, business emails and more.

With the growth of artificial intelligence (AI) such as ChatGPT, cybercriminals now have added support in creating sophisticated scams which has led to a surge in prevalence. What’s more, according to data from Gen, 75% of all cyberthreats on desktop are now scams. Norton experts identified some of the most prominent online scams people are facing today, including:

• E-Shop Scams: Scammers create fake online stores, offering products at unbeatable prices. Once a purchase is made, the product is never delivered, and the website disappears.
• Sextortion Scams: Cybercriminals threaten to release private or compromising information unless a ransom is paid. These scams often begin with phishing emails and exploit human emotions like fear and shame.
• Tech Support Scams: Fraudsters pose as tech support agents from reputable companies. They deceive victims into granting remote access to their computers, leading to data theft or ransom demands.

«We’ve found scammers are leaning on old methods to lure victims, but they now have a more sophisticated arsenal at their disposal to make these schemes more realistic,» said Luis Corrons, Security Evangelist for Norton. «Leveraging AI, criminals are creating scams that are not only more credible but alarmingly real, making scams more convincing and harder to detect, which is why it’s so important that consumers know what to be aware of. In addition to giving people the know-how, we want them to have the latest security tools they need to be safer. We recently released Norton Genie, a free AI-powered scam detection tool, to help people in the fight against scams and make it easier to navigate today’s threats. You can even ask Genie follow up questions so that over time you can become better at spotting scams with the naked eye too.»

Norton recommends a variety of tips to help protect against scams, depending on the type. These practices include:
• Verify before you buy: Check the retail website’s authenticity through reviews and ratings.
• Double-check who you’re talking to when you receive unknown calls: If contacted by «tech support,» for example, verify their identity by contacting the company directly through official channels.
• Add security layers to purchases: Use multi-step verification before making any financial transactions and only use secure payment methods, such as credit cards, which offer fraud protection.
• Be careful what you share: Regardless of where or with whom, always think twice before you share personally identifiable information online.

AI for Good: Norton Genie Provides Free Scam Protection for iOS and Android
While cybercriminals are using AI to help improve their scams, Norton is tapping into the technology to help consumers protect themselves against them. The newly launched Norton Genie is an AI-powered tool that detects text, social media and email scams. While consumers are inundated with scam messages every day, Genie helps people determine if the messages they see are potentially dangerous. Genie takes the topic a step further by answering follow-up questions like «How do you know it’s a scam?» and «What should I do next?» to help empower people with the knowledge they need.

Threats by the Numbers
The latest Pulse Report reveals Norton blocked over 1.5 billion threats in the first half of 2023. Scams make up the majority of these threats.

From January 1 through June 30, 2023, Norton blocked:
• 117.8 million phishing attempts
• 88.9 million desktop threats
• 680K mobile threats
• Norton AntiTrack blocked over 2.6 billion trackers and fingerprinting attempts

Above, photo by Sora Shimazaki on pexels


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