FTC Issues Staff Report on Roundtable Discussion About Phishing Education

For Release

The Federal Trade Commission today released a staff report on a Roundtable Discussion on Phishing Education that it hosted in April. Approximately 60 experts from business, government, the technology sector, the consumer advocacy community, and academia met at the FTC to discuss strategies for outreach to consumers about avoiding phishing. Phishers use deceptive spam that appears to come from legitimate, well-known sources to trick consumers into divulging sensitive or personal information, such as credit account numbers or passwords, often through a link to a copycat of the purported source’s Web site.

The FTC’s report summarizes key themes that emerged from the Roundtable Discussion and outlines next steps for increasing anti-phishing education. The report also includes a description of workshop participants’ efforts to fight phishing attacks and educate consumers, as well as ideas for increasing effective consumer education.

“Participants indicated that the best anti-phishing messages are behavioral rather than technical,” the report states. Evaluating whom to trust on the Internet can help prevent users from becoming victims.

The roundtable discussion was hosted by the Divisions of Consumer and Business Education and Marketing Practices of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. To read the report go to http://www.ftc.gov/reports/index.shtm. Also during the workshop, the FTC showed three 60-second videos it developed to raise awareness about the threats of phishing. These videos can be found at http://www.youtube.com/ftcvideos and at http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2008/04/vids.shtm.

The Commission vote to approve the report was 4-0.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,500 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s Web site provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.

(Phishing report)

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