New Report Finds Males Were Twice As Likely to Fall Victim to Online Scams in Q1 2018

Although men are 50% more likely to be fooled by hackers than women, both genders are likely to be tricked by spoofed advertisements.

dfndr lab recently released its Q1 2018 Cybersecurity Report analyzing cybercrime trends for the first three months of this year.  According to the report, there were more than 3M malicious links detected between January and March. Data analysis revealed that 67.4% of the victims were male compared to females who made up only 32.6%, showing men were at more than double the risk of becoming victims of online scams overall.


Men were more susceptible to fraudulent advertisements and scams using messenger services than to women. Deceptive advertisements involving the spoofing of well known and trusted brands were the most common type of fraud in Q1 with more than half of all detections at 1.5M.  Males made up 51.3% of those that clicked on a fraudulent ad compared to 48.1% of women. Malicious detections using messenger apps such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp accounted for 10.9% of online scams in the first part of 2018. There were 326K total detections made for this type of online scam.  12.5% of males were victims of some form of fraud involving a messenger app compared to 7.4% of women.

Top Five Scams for Males in Q1 2018

  1. Fraudulent Advertisements – 51.3%
  2. Generic Phishing – 16.5%
  3. Messenger Schemes – 12.5%
  4. Banking Payment Phishing – 9.8%
  5. Fake Promotions or Giveaways – 6.2%

Women were more likely to fall victim to generic phishing scams and fake promotions and giveaways over men. There were 566K generic phishing scams discovered this quarter making it the second most common type of online scam and 18.9% of total detections. Phishing involves the use of spoofed emails and SMS messages from trusted sources asking for personal information. 23.7% of females clicked on a phishing link compared to 16.5% of males. Fake promotions and Giveaways made up 7.2% of the malicious detections in Q1.  There were more than 215K of these online scams involving tricking users into registering for promotions and giveaways using infected URLs. Female users were more likely to fall for these bogus contest entries making up 9.1% of scam victims compared to 9.1% of male users.

Top Five Scams for Females in Q1 2018

  1. Fraudulent Advertisements – 48.1%
  2. Generic Phishing – 23.7%
  3. Fake Promotions or Giveaways – 9.1%
  4. Banking Payment Phishing – 8.0%
  5. Messenger Schemes – 7.4%

Staying Protected

1) The best method to protect yourself from becoming a victim of an online scam is to fact check information such as news, job opportunities, contests, and promotions before sharing it on social media. Remember, cybercriminals often create spoofed offers and websites from well known and trusted brands.

2) Always protect your mobile device with reputable security software. dfndr security provides features such as anti-phishing that alerts users to malicious links received through SMS, emails or messenger apps before you click them.

3) Finally, you can also use the dfndr lab page verification tool at to verify suspicious URLs.