SEATTLE/LONDON: Even though the vast majority of consumers in the UK (92%) and the US (91%) are aware of the risks posed by phishing emails and spoof websites, large numbers still fall victim to fraudsters, a new report has warned.

Released a fortnight before the Cyber Monday online shopping event takes place on November 27, it revealed that 38% of US consumers and 20% of UK consumers have admitted clicking on a link or email that they thought was from a trusted brand only to find out that it was an attempted scam.

In addition, more than half (53%) of British consumers reported that this had happened to them more than once – compared to just 13% of Americans.

These are some of the key findings uncovered by DomainTools, a digital security firm, which questioned a total of 2,000 consumers on both sides of the Atlantic to establish the extent of the threat posed by online criminals.

The company said that the consequences of phishing can be devastating, with consumers in both countries reporting computer viruses, stolen credit cards and breached personal information.

“As more consumers move to online shopping, criminals will continue to strike on high performance days and spoof trusted brands,” the report warned, as it highlighted Cyber Monday as a key date for consumers to take precautions.

Almost half (49%) of US consumers plan to shop on Cyber Monday and although the event is not as popular in the UK – just 29% of Brits intend to shop that day – 80% of British consumers still shop online at least once a month.

DomainTools said the brands most likely to be targeted later this month may correspond with the most popular online retailers in both countries.

According to the two surveys, they include Amazon (82%), Walmart (36%) and Target (20%) in the US, and Amazon (88%), Argos (46%) and Tesco (35%) in the UK.

“Cyber Monday has grown in popularity year over year, and unfortunately, so has phishing and online counterfeiting,” said Tim Chen, CEO of DomainTools.

“As shoppers search for Cyber Monday deals, it’s important that they remember to look closely at links and email addresses before clicking. If something seems too good to be true, it may instead be very fake and very bad.”

Sourced from DomainTools; additional content by WARC staff