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Psst...You're Being Phished....Pshaw!

Phishing is the malicious attempt to use phony e-mails to steal one's identity information--Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, or bank account information. The e-mails often pose as audit requests from banks, claim you have won a high-priced sweepstakes, or offer you special retail promos.

These phishing expeditions are getting out-of-hand, more costly, and more sophisticated, as shown by this data:

Year 2004

  • $137 million lost from phishing attacks
  • 57 million U.S. adults received at least one phishing e-mail
  • $257 was per-victim loss
  • 80% of the money was recovered
Year 2006
  • $2.8 billion lost from phishing attacks
  • 109 million U.S. adults received at least one phishing e-mail
  • $1224 was per-victim loss
  • 54% of the money was recovered
Question: Based on this data, what would you expect the numbers for the year 2008 to be ...for each of the four categories? Does a linear or exponential model look more appropriate...or neither? Explain.

Source: AARP, February 2007, p. 18