US payments association Nacha estimates the total monetary losses to victims of phishing incidents nationwide may run as high as $500 million.
According to a survey conducted by Ponemon Institute and sponsored by TRUSTe, three quarters of US consumers (76%) are experiencing an increase in spoofing and phishing incidents, with 35% receiving fake e-mails at least once a week.
Based on a national sample of 1335 Internet users across the US, seven out of ten respondents revealed that they have unintentionally visited a spoofed Web site and more than 15% of spoofed respondents admit to being phished. In total, a little more than two percent of all respondents believe that they experienced a direct monetary loss resulting from a phishing attack.
Online consumers have become more skeptical about e-mail and Web sites as a result of their experiences with phishing and want to see action taken to address the problem, says Nacha. Sixty-four percent of respondents surveyed believe that it is unacceptable for organisations to do nothing about spoofing and phishing, and 96% want companies to consider new technologies to help authenticate e-mail and online sites.
In a move to tackle the escalating problem, Amazon and Microsoft have filed several lawsuits against firms accused of spamming and phishing. The Seattle neighbours have filed a joint lawsuit against a Canadian firm accused of sending out spam e-mail from spoof Amazon and Hotmail addresses.
In addition to the joint legal action, Amazon filed three further suits against unidentified defendants allegedly involved in phishing scams designed to defraud its customers.
David Zapolsky, VP and associate general counsel for Amazon.com, says: "We are going to continue our efforts to protect customers from these schemes and will prosecute those responsible to the fullest extents of the law."
Both Amazon and Microsoft say they are collaborating to test possible technical solutions that would make it more difficult to deliver fraudulent and deceptive e-mail to consumers.
Brad Smith, general counsel for Microsoft, says: "Today's alliance should be yet another wake-up call for spammers and phishers that the industry is teaming up, pooling resources and sharing investigative information to put them out of business."