​Phishing scams cause $1.28 billion in damages over past five years

By Park Yoon-bae Posted : February 21, 2023, 15:21 Updated : February 22, 2023, 08:48

[Getty Images Bank]

SEOUL -- South Korea suffered 1.66 trillion won ($1.28 billion) in cumulative damages arising from phishing scams over the last five years, a report by the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) said February 21.
Phishing scams related to bank loans caused 999.8 billion won in damages between 2018 and 2022, accounting for 60.1 percent of the total sum, according to the report submitted by the FSS to Rep. Kang Min-kuk of the ruling People Power Party (PPP).
The number of phishing scams totaled 227,126 during the five-year period. The cumulative number of victims stood at 143,421. It peaked in 2019 when 50,872 victims were reported.
Phishing is a cybercrime in which scammers disguising as trustworthy sources deceive victims into sending money from their bank accounts. Scammers usually contact targets by email, telephone or text message to lure them into providing sensitive data such as banking and credit card details and passwords.
Money transfer schemes with fraudsters impersonating investigators or regulators incurred 379.9 billion worth of damages, or 22.8 percent of the total. Messenger scams with con artists posing as acquaintances of victims incurred 284.9 billion won in damages, or 17.1 percent of the entire amount.
Damages caused by messenger scams surged 64 percent to 92.7 billion won in 2022 from 37.3 billion won in 2020. The number of messenger scams represented 89 percent of the total phishing cases of 25,534 last year. And 95 percent of messenger scams took place on KakaoTalk, a mobile messaging app operated by tech giant Kakao Corp.
Rep. Kang said that the increasing cases of phishing scams were attributed to a failure by the financial regulator to take appropriate measures to crack down on fraudulent schemes.

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