Cost of phishing, loan scams rises

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Cost of phishing, loan scams rises

Women in their 30s were more vulnerable to phishing scams while males in their 40s were the biggest victims of loan fraud, a study by the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) showed yesterday.

The financial authority said it was the first time that it has analyzed the damage caused by fraud in detail, including victims’ age, gender, job, region and the type of fraud perpetrated.

The study was based on 70,859 cases of phishing that occurred between Oct. 1, 2011 and June 30, 2014, and 13,915 cases of loan fraud committed between April 18, 2012 and June 30, 2014.

The FSS said it decided to conduct the study because financial damages caused by the scams have been growing at an alarming rate. According to the watchdog, phishing and loan fraud results in damages of about 270 billion won ($246 million) a year.

In the past three years, younger people were more vulnerable to phishing scams than older people, the survey said. Those in their 30s topped the list, accounting for 28.2 percent of the total number of phishing victims, whereas those in their 70s or older accounted for 9.1 percent.

Women were more likely to fall victim to phishing scams, making up 54.3 percent of the total.

The study also showed that most of those women were in their 20s or 30s who and lived in Seoul.

The report also showed that women are suffering much larger losses from fraud than in the past. In 2012, the average financial loss to a woman in her 30s from a phishing scam was 11.6 million won a year. That figure had grown to 18.7 million won as of June this year.

Men, on the other hand, have seen the damages from those scams decrease from an average of 11.5 million won two years ago to 10.5 million won as of June.

But men in their 40s topped the list of victims of loan fraud, closely followed by men in their 30s and 50s. Women were less exposed to loan fraud than men, but even among women who were victims, most were in their 30s.

By occupation, office workers made up the biggest portion of loan scam victims, at 54.8 percent, while 31.6 percent were self-employed entrepreneurs with a small business or shop, such as a restaurant.

Most of the victims, 63.2 percent, wanted to borrow loans to spend on daily necessities, while 19.7 percent were interested in taking out a loan to repay financial debt.

About 97 percent of successful loan frauds were carried out via phone calls or spam sent through mobile phone text messages; 68.1 percent were through mobile advertisements; 28.5 percent were text messages; and 1.5 percent were via Internet ads.

The most loan fraud cases occurred in Incheon, with 177 cases, followed by Gangwon and South Chungcheong. By region, the fewest loan frauds, 108, occurred in Jeju.


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