Chapter 4: Phishing and scamming

Phishing and scamming messages are the main risks in regards to cybersecurity on social media nowadays. Almost 90% of all the threats come from phishing, so this is why it’s crucial to learn more about these risks.

Phishing and scamming

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1: Statistics about phishing and scamming

What is phishing?

Phishing is a form of online deception which cybercriminals use to scam you for money.  Sometimes they use e-mails or sms and sometimes they build fake websites.

The last few years phishing and scamming messages have increased a lot and it is the biggest digital threat. In the Netherlands alone, we lose tens of millions each year.

But you might think this would not happen to you because these messages are easy to recognize. Well, let’s take a look at other statistics to see if that’s truly the case.

Most common phishing forms on social media
What could you receive on E-mail?
What happens on Whatsapp?
Most common fake website forms

Facts and figures

84% of cyberattacks come from spear phishing

Spear phishing is more personal than the traditional type of phishing, in other words, it is becoming more difficult to notice

93% of social media attacks were phishing related

Users on social media usually get scammed with messages such as you will see in the Twitter example.

Age 12-25 are most likely to fall for cybercrime

Unlike what you might believe, young people are the most susceptible for cybercrime according to CBS in 2018.

Why phishing will continue to be dangerous

Phishing attacks are inexpensive and easy enough to reach thousands of people. Therefore, many cybercriminals will use this method to steal from you. During the pandemic, this even increased!

This is why it’s crucial to understand how these attacks work and find common patterns.

Were you aware of these statistics of the phishing method used by cybercriminals?


Good that you are already aware

Great to hear that you are already up-to-date. Specific phishing methods are always improving and adapting, so make sure you keep this up!


Its good to have you here

This ain't a problem because you are already at the right place. Now that you gained insights about the impact, we can go over practical steps to take.

What is phishing?

2: Why is everyone a target for phishing and scamming?

Even if you have no money that cybercriminals can steal from you, it is still important that you don’t fall for phishing tricks.

It’s not always about you.

Whenever someone gains hold of your account, they can impersonate you and reach your family and friends. And they could lose money because of it.

3: How to spot a phishing scam checklist

February 2, 2014

1: Is the offer too good to be true?

If the deal is too good to be true, then it probably is. Better leave it out in that case. Messages that guarantee you any sort of money without restrictions or anything in return should be a big red flag!

February 2, 2014
May 10, 2015

2: Check the link within the message

Most often the phishing message contains a weird link or something that really resembles the company. This is how you can ask yourself if the link is correct.

  • Can you spot a https connection and not a http?
  • Is the domain name not something weird?
  • Does it look like the url of a bank or the service it would normally represent?
May 10, 2015
23 March 2020

3: Check the style

Phishers and scammers try to mimic the style and feel of a certain company. In order to determine if the message is authentic when you are in doubt, please answer the following questions:

  • Does it have any spelling errors?
  • Do you see the logo of the brand or anything authentic?
  • Does it feel like it comes from the person itself?
23 March 2020
June 21, 2016

4: Check the timeline & stories of your friends and family

If the phishing scam is something popular or widespread there is a big chance you will spot it on the other stories from your friends and family. If this the case you should notify them immediately to not click on the malicious link.

June 21, 2016
23 March 2020

5: If you did fell for it, make sure to report it

If you happen to get phished, do not be too hard on yourself because it happens to a lot of people. Especially now since cybercriminals are getting smarter and smarter.

You can report your case in the Netherlands at:

Fraudehulpdesk Nederland

23 March 2020

Summary of the chapter

Time for chapter 5: Public profiles & public Wi-Fi

Now that you know the basic principles of phishing it is time to move on to chapter 5! In this chapter, we will discuss the risks of sharing too much information online and how that tends to share can lead to theft. Also, the risks of using unknown new Public Wi-Fi spots will be brought to your attention. Let’s get started!

Social media profiles