They’re phishing. And you’re the phish they’re after.

Did you know that phishing attacks are responsible for more than 80% of reported security incidents? According to CISCO’s 2021 Cybersecurity Threat Trends report, about 90% of data breaches occur due to phishing. Phishing is leading the charge as a profit center for cybercriminals, and with it comes ransomware among other dangers. Not surprisingly, an estimated 94% of ransomware arrives at businesses via phishing emails, which can present themselves as an urgency to act or the impersonation of an individual or brand.

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, a time to remind ourselves (and if you’re a bank, your customers) that cybercrime continues to rise. This past year has brought us an exponential increase in fraud and scams… in particular, crimes that involve financial institutions. Every day, in fact, thousands of bank customers are targeted by scammers — often posing as bank employees — who first steal their personal information, then their money. 

Newly released Federal Trade Commission data shows that consumers reported losing more than $5.8 billion to fraud in 2021, an increase of more than 70 percent over the previous year. The FTC received fraud reports from more than 2.8 million consumers, with the most commonly reported category once again being imposter scams, followed by online shopping scams. “While scammers target consumers using every possible method of communication, phone calls were the most common,” the agency states. And, unfortunately, the agency says, approximately 15% of fraud cases go unreported. 

A bit of history. Cybersecurity Awareness Month was launched by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in October 2004 in an effort to help Americans stay safer and more secure online. When Cybersecurity Awareness Month first began, those awareness efforts centered around advice like updating your antivirus software twice a year to mirror similar efforts around changing batteries in smoke alarms. Much has changed since then. Cybersecurity Awareness Month has grown significantly — according to the National Cybersecurity Alliance — in both reach and participation. In an effort to protect both individuals and companies from cyberattack, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) now manages the program, and each year launches a campaign to raise awareness of cyber threats and the importance of protecting personal information. “Operated in many respects as a grassroots campaign, the month’s effort has grown to include the participation of a multitude of industry participants that engage their customers, employees, and the general public in awareness, as well as college campuses, nonprofits, and other groups.”  

A sign of that significant growth? Participation by the federal government and the banking community. Federal agencies are now paying real attention — and justifiably so — to cybercrime. Valuable guidelines and resources can be found on federal agency websites such as,, the US Department of Justice, and the Federal Trade Commission. These sites go into great detail, describing the various types of cybercrimes and what action individuals can take to protect themselves. The American Bankers Association has also become an active participant, having launched #banksneveraskthat back in 2020 and watching this program grow tremendously over just the past two years. Today, over 2,000 banks participate. And, it's not too late to take part. To learn more, visit #banksneveraskthat.

What can you do? As their financial institution, it’s imperative that your customers know that their personal information, and their money, can be lost to fraud if preventative steps are not taken. Remember, too, that your customers aren’t the only ones who suffer. Banks like yours face significant monetary and reputational losses from these increasingly sophisticated scams targeting your customers.

About Bank Marketing Center

Here at, our goal is to help you with that vital, topical, and compelling communication with customers; messaging that will help you build trust, relationships, and with them, your brand. Visit our site now to view our new campaign addressing cybersecurity, which you can customize and put in front of your customers in just minutes.  Here are just a few examples of the new creative:

To view our marketing creative, both print and digital – ranging from product and brand ads to in-branch brochures and signage – visit  Or, you can contact me directly by phone at 678-528-6688 or email at As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject. #banksneveraskthat #communitybank #bankmarketing #cybersecurity