June 12, 2024

It is no longer news that internet users face numerous dangers by clicking on links from anonymous sources. These dangerous links could come from social media, websites, and emails. The usual way it works is for the link to redirect the unsuspecting user to a website where their details will be extracted and used to either empty their bank accounts or hold them for ransom. This act is called phishing. LookOut’s Global State of Mobile Phishing Report 2022 estimates that over 30% of users will be attacked quarterly.

But cybercriminals are now carrying out their devious action through text messages. Unfortunately, most users are unaware of this new trending development known as Smishing. Don’t fret; we are here to enlighten you on the existence of Smishing statistics to ensure you don’t become a victim. Let’s take a look.

General Smishing Statistics

General Smishing Statistics

  1. The black and white communities in America were targeted more with smishing than the Hispanic environments.
  2. Unfortunately, the age group that knows how bad smishing is is those aged 55 years and above. This means that many people don’t know about it yet.  
  3. Judging by what 58% of the people who responded to a survey in the US said in 2021, there were more spam calls and text messages in this period.
  4. Also, according to what was reported by KeepNetLabs, the average amount lost by victims of smishing all over the world was $800 per individual. If we combine all the losses from pharming, phishing, smishing, and vishing, we will look at more than $54 million. 
  5. The year 2020 was remarkable because the smishing attacks rose very high due to the pandemic. Hackers used COVID-19, and many people feared sending text messages with malicious links.
  6. Within that year, up to 76% of businesses worldwide saw smishing texts alone, not counting other phishing methods. 
  7. Spam text messages and calls saw a noticeable rise in frequency from the first two weeks of quarantine in the US.
  8. Perpetrators of such crimes use either programs that are malicious in nature or websites to compromise a user’s data. 
  9. $54.2 million was lost to smishing in 2019, according to a report from the FBI in 2020.
  10. The hackers used local numbers to make the dangerous text messages appear legit.

General Smishing Statistics for 2023

General Smishing Statistics

11. Victims of this sort of attack lost $86 million in America as of 2019. 

12. Such malevolent SMS reached mobile devices belonging to 17% of users involved in one enterprise. 

13. Spain was the most vulnerable country to smishing attacks by 100% as of 2019.

14. Gen X and millennials were more informed about the threat of nasty SMS than any other age group in 2019. 

15. More than 1 billion unwanted SMS are sent per minute.  

16. 65% of people questioned in the US said they would delete a text message that came from an anonymous source, not necessarily because they suspected smishing. 

17. Hackers have deviated from using unknown numbers to using those recognizable by the user to send malicious SMS.

18. More than 320,000 people in the US were successfully preyed upon with fraudulent text messages back in 2021, judging from a report by TheSmallBusiness

19. Only about 23% of users know what smishing is and the threat it poses. This is a disappointing reality, bringing the need to create more awareness of this new phishing development. 

20. More than 300 customers received compensation of eight hundred thousand euros from the Bank of Ireland. 

21. A report from TechJury shows the percentage of people who regrettably click on malicious links from text messages fluctuates between 8.9% and 14.5%.

22. 32% of companies allege that they conduct training tests to help prepare their employees for possible smishing situations. This was obtained from a report by IncrediTools.

23. Most people, about 27 to 42 years old, know everything they should about smishing. A comparison survey showed that they knew more than others in different age ranges. According to researchers, folks at least forty-three to fifty-nine years old (43-59) knew many things about the subject matter in 2019.

Global Data About Spam Texts and its Proportion

Global Data About Spam Texts

Health 

24. 1.2% of fraud-related messages on people’s health were distributed globally on October 19, 2023—this proportion of test messages accrued to 1,060,272,839 when rated in figures.

25. In 2021, records proved that billions of junk mail were also sent globally.

False Schemes on Apple Devices and Hardware

26. Approximately 2,601,735,612 false SMS tests, equivalent to 3%, were connected to winning Apple equipment

27. In 2020, there was a case of smishing where some criminals demanded the victim’s credit card data to get a free-of-charge iPhone 12. 

28. According to Kaspersky’s report, once a receiver clicks the link, they will see other steps before claiming the prize. This process makes the victim give away vital data that the criminal will use against them.

Bank 

29. Text messages related to bank issues were sent to 3 million with bad intentions. This was about 3.5% of the global smishing in 2020.

COVID-19

30. Hackers used the pandemic period to send out 5.7 million SMS, discussing the disease and vaccines but with evil intentions.

31. There was even a set of texts claiming to come from the US government, demanding the recipient to take a compulsory COVID-19 test with malicious links attached to deceive the receivers. 

Delivery

32. More than 23 million spam text messages on delivery were issued worldwide, topping the list in the most frequently used spam category. This resulted in 26.3% of smishing texts, as reported in Text-Em-All

33. Online criminals used false USPS to create a FedEx delivery text scam reported in September 2020. The attempt was to access the user’s credentials and banking information. 

34. As of 2022, 83% of businesses in the world admit to having fallen victim to phishing scams. This is because emails and SMS are how they frequently communicate, thereby falling into traps by clicking on messages that seem to be official

35. Spam SMS on delivery package deception comprised over a quarter of smishing in 2021.

Statistics of Mobile Phone Smishing Victims by Age and Gender

Victims by Age and Gender

36. Women between the ages of 35 to 44 years accounted for 32% of female victims.

37. Younger ladies aged 18 to 34 summed up 34% of the female gender who fell into the net of cybercriminals

38. For the men, 46% were between 18 and 34

39. The older age group from 35 to 44 years happened to be 51% of the male gender.

Hackers’ Mode of Operation

Hackers' Mode of Operation

40. The first step for the attacker is to compose a compelling text message that will lure the receiver into taking some action

41. The fraudster wants the recipient to click on the link that came with the SMS. Once this is done, the unsuspecting victim is directed to a program known as the phishing tool, designed to ask the potential victim to give away information.

42. Of course, these programs are tailored to look like websites or can be masked as apps that are relevant to the subject at hand. 

43. Just as brand owners have target audiences, hackers also have them, and they frequently select their targets based on their association with an organization or a geographical location where a remarkable event is taking place. These events are what they use to compose a malicious text message. 

44. Cybercriminals hide their phone numbers with “Spoofing.” It allows the attacker to mask their phone numbers with any other number, specifically numbers the potential victim is familiar with. The same method is used in VPNs to either hide or mask IP addresses. 

45. Some criminals use cheap and disposable phones to perfect their smishing schemes. 

46. The moment the hacker gets the desired sensitive information, they use it to compromise the data of the victim, which could be a direct theft of funds, have access to company information, or hold the victim to ransom by demanding a specific amount of money from them.

Frequency of Phishing SMS in America 2023

Frequency of Phishing SMS

47. The average number of daily fraudulent texts in the US is 415,172,654

48. Within a week, the number had climbed to 2,906,208,576 malicious SMS.

49. On weekends alone, we look at about 665,100,057 texts to receivers

50. To give a clearer picture of the horrors of smishing in the States, 288,314 texts from this category come in one minute! Alarming.

51. An individual got an average of 47 spam texts, with 429,406,658 sent out in a single day. 

52. About 4,970 of such “Robotech” occur per minute in America. 

53. Weekends had a surprising 2,299,126,399 smishing texts sent to people. This is attributed to more people being at home and more prone to fall into the traps set by hackers via smishing. 

54. 3,005,846,605 phishing texts occurred in just one week, making it the most popular phishing scheme.

Smishing With Other Phishing Tools

55. A part of the phishing scheme that operates on the gaming platform is 11.3%

56. The productivity industry records 10.2% of the phishing market.

57. Smishing from emails is very popular, with 15.4% of such scams coming from where most victims (about 75% or more) are corporate institutions rather than individuals.

58. Social media takes it to another level for hackers by 16.4%. Attackers turned their attention to this platform because 59% of the world’s population is on social media, according to Statista as of 2023.

59. The sports group of smishing constitutes 6.3% of text phishing, according to a report by LookOut

60. Malevolent texts relating to dating sites are trending by 6.1% compared to the rest.

61. With the rise of e-commerce as a convenient way to trade in today’s world, cybercrime is on the rise. However, it’s the least targeted category of the phishing business.

62. California, popularly called the City of Angels, makes the top list with an outrageous 1,315,688,592 fraudulent text this month, making it the most vulnerable state in America in this period. 

63. Texas comes second with 1,199,835,804 spam SMS. 

64. Georgia has recorded 975,473,480 smishing texts in the same month.

65. The state of Florida is number 4 on the list, with 756,018,915 phishing text messages. 

66. In September, having 534,341,450 such SMS to recipients makes New York the least vulnerable of America’s five most vulnerable states.

Final Thoughts

Having gone this far in statistics, you can see smishing has a far outreach than most phishing or any category of cybercrime. This is because it doesn’t just apply to folks with smartphones but people with mobile phones or devices. Ironically, as much as it ranks as one of the most common phishing methods for decades, it has only come to the limelight recently during the pandemic.

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