A new Gartner Inc. study found that the number of online scams known as "phishing attacks" have spiked in the last year and that online users are frequently tricked into divulging sensitive information to criminals. The study, which ended in April, surveyed 5,000 adult Internet users and found that about 3 percent reported giving up financial or personal information after being drawn into a phishing scam, which uses e-mail messages and Web pages designed to look like correspondence from legitimate online businesses. The results suggest that as many as 30 million adults have experienced a phishing attack and that 1.78 million could have fallen victim to the scams, Gartner said. ISPs need to address the phishing problem to prevent the Internet and e-mail from being discredited as media for customer transactions, Gartner said.
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