Almost one in three (28%) Internet users in the US are unable to tell the difference between fraudulent "phishing" scam e-mails and legitimate traffic, according to research by MailFrontier, a provider of e-mail security and anti-spam systems.
The survey, which MailFrontier conducted in partnership with Issues and Answers Network, asked 1000 US consumers to identify if an e-mail was legitimate or fraudulent.
The research found that respondents are still easily fooled by some of the earliest and most unsophisticated scams - such as the PayPal phishing e-mail which was incorrectly identitifed by 31% of consumers as legitimate.
MailFrontier says the findings generate concern over the level of consumer awareness to the growing threat of phishing and says education, as well as technology, is required to reduce the number of victims of phishing scams.
Recent research by Financial Insights estimated that financial firms will suffer $400m in fraud losses resulting from phishing attacks in 2004.
Allied Irish Bank (AIB) has become the latest financial institution to warn its online banking customers of a phishing scam. The bank posted a statement on its Web site this morning warning of a computer virus which installs rogue software on a customers' computer (PC) and then presents a spoof Web site asking for personal financial information. The bank says only customers who have this virus installed on their PCs will be affected.
In a statement, AIB says a "small number" of customers have encountered the fraudulent screen which requests customers to key in the expiry date of their credit card and PIN.
AIB says neither its Internet banking service or computer systems have been infected by the virus.