Protection de la vie privée

Youngsters don’t know enough about phishing

Cybercriminals have been very cunning in taking advantage of the coronavirus crisis, using phishing techniques to try and catch you out. One of the reasons why this form of online fraud has been so ‘successful’ lies in the victims’ lack of knowledge. Young people in particular appear to know very little about phishing.

According to a recent survey conducted by Febelfin, more than half of Belgians (56%) have received a phishing message in the past year. And more than one in three (34%) have received one in the past month.

Strangely, though, Belgians do not know very much about phishing: according to the survey, 12% of the population have never even heard of it – and among young people, that figure is as high as 30%! This lack of knowledge can have dire consequences: 3% of people who have ever received a phishing message actually responded to it; and among youngsters it’s 5%.

Careless with financial information

‘Phishers’ are fraudsters who try to steal sensitive data and financial information. Often, they do so by posing as your bank or other institution you trust. The fact that 7% of those surveyed – and as many as 17% of young people – have shared financial information that made them feel uncomfortable in the past six months is not a good sign. It also appears that 3% of Belgians (and 8% of young people) would give out their bank codes if requested to do so by their bank.

Don’t fall into the trap

Unfortunately, the fraudsters will read this information with glee. In 2020, they were able to loot more than 34 million euros from our accounts – money extracted through fraudulent transactions made possible by phishing. This trend is only expected to rise again this year.

All of which is a good reason to be constantly alert and to follow these basic rules of thumb to the letter:

  • Never give anyone your personal codes in response to a telephone call, e-mail, text, social media or WhatsApp message
  • Think carefully before you click on any link you receive. You’d do better to go online directly to your bank’s website or use your banking app.
  • Report any attempt at phishing to your bank (phishing(at)domainofyourbank) and forward any suspicious messages to

Want to know how good you’d be at identifying a phishing attempt? Do the quiz