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How Big is the Phish?

Industry analysts seemed to be duking it out when it comes to estimating how large losses are from phishing attacks - especially when it comes to estimating fraud at automated teller machines and point-of-sale locations.

Tower Group recently released a study that says the impact is minimal compared to other types of fraud. Tower says less than 1 percent of fraud losses in the ATM and POS worlds come from phishing. The research firm says that on average, one of every 15,600 ATM and POS debit transactions today are fraudulent, and almost all of those transactions originate from stolen cards and card skimming. When compared to volume of transactions, which was just over 17 billion in the U.S. last year, that means there were about 1.1 million fraudulent debit transactions or about $990 million in losses. However, it estimates that the total dollar loss from fraud that originates from phishing is about $81 million annually.

A recent Gartner survey, however, said that phishing increased by nearly 30 percent over the last year and that for the 12 months ending in May 2005, losses due to phishing were about $925 million. Overall, Gartner estimated that during that time, losses due to ATM/debit card fraud were about $2.75 billion, with average losses about $900 per individual.

Copyright © 2005 Bankers' Hotline. Originally appeared in Bankers' Hotline, Vol. 15, No. 10, 10/05

First published on 10/01/2005

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