Figures 2023: 'Phishing and other lurking dangers'

Stay up to date with the latest measures from the financial sector

3 min Reading time

From the results of the Febelfin study in collaboration with the research agency Indiville, it appears that cybercriminals sent out a massive number of phishing messages in 2023. Regardless of age, education level, language… everyone is in the sights of cybercriminals, unfortunately, this includes young people as well.


Therefore, continuous vigilance remains crucial. How is the population’s knowledge regarding online fraud? What forms of fraud are current, how ‘safe’ do we behave when making online purchases, and do we still give away our codes as easily? Where does the sector focus on? Read all about it in our storytelling.


The most important figures at a glance:

  • The phishing net remains large: although 75% of fraudulent transfers due to phishing were blocked or reclaimed by the banks, about 40 million euros were still made by phishing in 2023 (just like the previous year).
  • Knowledge about phishing must improve: 9% of the Belgian population has never heard of phishing. Even more worrying: almost one-third of the young people are not familiar with the phenomenon ‘phishing’.
  • Other online fraud forms (e.g. help request fraud, investment fraud, safe account fraud, etc.) where the customers make a transaction themselves, are too little known among Belgians.
  • Regarding the safety steps for online purchases, the majority of Belgians do not consider them unnecessary, which is positive. Yet, these safety steps are still an obstacle rather than protection for 1 in 5 Belgians. Among young people, the group that finds these steps more of a hindrance is larger (31%).
  • Fewer people give away codes: 89% of Belgians would never give their codes to the bank under any circumstances. But 2% of the population, and 7% of the young people, would give their bank code without hesitation if the bank asked for it. This remains too much, but it is on a declining trend for the second year in a row (2023: 10%, 2022: 13%).
  • And fewer Belgians send their bank card back: 5% of Belgians would never send their bank card back to the bank. Young people perform slightly worse here: 13% would send the card back if the bank asked for it, but this is also better than last year (2023: 17%).
  • Action is more often taken in the suspicion of online fraud: 6 out of 10 victims of phishing knew what to do and 91% took action.
  • The issue of ‘money mules’ is still too little known: Although 40% of the population is familiar with the concept of ‘money mule’, this percentage is significantly lower among young people. Only 25% of them can give a clear explanation of what a money mule is. 45% of the young people have never even heard of the phenomenon.
  • The financial sector continues to develop new initiatives in the fight against online fraud, such as the incident warning system and the IBAN-name check.