Report: 84% of U.S. citizens have experienced social engineering attacks

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As American society becomes more digitized, cybercriminals are becoming more prevalent in our everyday lives, increasing the amount of social engineering attacks we encounter each day. New data from NordVPN examined the prevalence of social engineering, and the awareness around it (or lack thereof), revealing that 84% of Americans have experienced some form of social engineering, with phishing as the most commonly encountered.

The report addresses social engineering’s most common forms, and steps online users and IT administrators can take to protect themselves from these attacks. When it comes to the different types of social engineering, it’s clear phishing is the most common. For example, out of the 84% that encountered these scams, almost half (48%) reported suspicious emails with links and attachments and/or asking for their personal information.

Other common types of social engineering reported include smishing (phishing-like text messages) where 39% reported receiving suspicious texts with links and/or attachments asking for their personal information. Thirty-seven percent experienced pop-up advertisements that were difficult to close and another 27% received suspicious voicemails asking the recipient to divulge personal information.

While many of those surveyed claim to practice online safety, it’s obvious there’s still work to be done. Of that same 84% who encountered social engineering attempts, 36% admitted to actually falling for one or more of the social engineering scams they encountered. Nearly 1 in 5 (18%) of those victims said they had their email, social media or financial accounts locked; 14% had their personal login credentials stolen or paid for something they didn’t receive; and 11% were scammed into investing money or had their work login credentials stolen.


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Security experts at NordVPN surveyed 1,002 U.S. consumers, ages 18 and over, who were nationally representative of the U.S. population for age, gender, region and ethnicity.

Read the full report by NordVPN.

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