Outsmart a phisher

16 November 2021 - 8 min Reading time

New campaign warns about the dangers of phishers


On November 16, the Center for Cyber ​​Security Belgium (CCB), Febelfin and the Cyber ​​Security Coalition will launch a striking awareness campaign about the dangers of phishing: Be smarter than a phisher. This form of online scam is on the rise and continues to claim countless victims, both among individuals and companies and organizations.

Het CCB is de nationale autoriteit voor cyberveiligheid in België en staat onder gezag van de Eerste Minister.

The CCB receives an average of 12,000 suspicious messages every day and warns of major phishing campaigns via the new Safeonweb app.

  • The awareness campaign 'Outsmart a phisher' is the result of close collaboration between the Center for Cyber ​​Security Belgium (CCB), Febelfin and the Cyber ​​Security Coalition.
  • With the holidays approaching, this awareness campaign aims to increase the vigilance of internet users and provide tips on how not to fall into the trap of scammers who send phishing messages.
  • As an internet user you are not powerless. You can certainly take 2 smart actions:
    • Download the Safeonweb app. This brand new app warns you about cyber threats and new phishing messages.
    • Always forward fraudulent messages to suspicious@safeonweb.be. The CCB has the suspect block links in these messages. This way, less attentive internet users are not at risk.
  • The central message is: be smarter than phisher and never share personal data, codes or passwords.
  • You can read how to recognize phishing and what to look out for at www.safeonweb.be.
  • The campaign will be seen and heard through numerous channels: in addition to radio spots, there are also television spots and there is a social media section.

Phishing in numbers


  • 7502 victims reported to the police (Federal Police)
  • 67,000 fraudulent transactions via phishing, for a total net amount of 34 million euros (Febelfin)
  • 12% of Belgians (and 30% of young people) have never heard of phishing (Febelfin)


  • 3.7 million suspicious messages sent to suspicious@safeonweb.be, an average of 12,000 per day (CCB)
  • 1.3 million suspicious links have been blocked (CCB)
  • 25,000 direct alerts on suspicious link clicks (CCB) daily

Social problem


Although more and more people recognize phishing messages, there are too many victims. In 2020, the federal police registered 7502 victims of phishing. That is an increase of 204% compared to the previous year.

"The number of registered victims of phishing is increasing year after year. Every local police department can testify that more and more victims of phishing are coming to report. That is why the police supports Safeonweb's annual campaigns. Prevention of this form of crime is more than ever necessary to limit the number of victims."
Olivier Bogaert, Federal Computer Crime Unit

Throughout 2020, 67,000 fraudulent transactions were carried out via phishing, for a total net amount of EUR 34 million. Moreover, it appears that 12% of Belgians have never heard of phishing. For young people, this percentage rises to no less than 30% (Febelfin, 2021). These figures indicate a continuing risk for potential victims, especially with the end of the year approaching. Phishers also strike en masse on popular shopping days such as 'Black Friday'. They respond to current events and are becoming more and more numerous and inventive.

Phishing has become a social problem, which more and more people and sectors are confronted with. Therefore, public awareness is a must. The more people are alert and the more aware they are of the latest methods of phishers, the more we can reduce the number of victims. That is also the explicit intention of this campaign and I am pleased that we have been able to work together with the Center for Cyber ​​Security Belgium, the Cyber ​​Security Coalition and 500 committed partners. We will not let go of the theme after the campaign either: an anti-phishing working group, within the CCB and with various stakeholders, will be set up to coordinate the fight against phishing even better in the future,” responds Karel Baert, CEO of Febelfin.

We can only fight against phishing by working together with governments, the police, the judiciary, the telecom sector, etc. That is why the CCB, Febelfin and the Cyber ​​Security Coalition, together with more than 500 partners, joined forces for a new, broad awareness campaign that aims to inform and warn. Because the vigilance of the internet user must be increased. An alert citizen is worth two and that is the aim of this awareness campaign.


What is phishing?


The principle is simple: you receive an email, SMS or message via social media that wants to persuade you to click on a link with an excuse. Via that link you fill in your personal details and possibly a response code (appears on your card reader), which will then end up with the scammer. It also happens over the phone: they call you, try to gain your trust and persuade you to share your bank card details and passwords. Once in possession of your response code, the fraudsters can access your account and take your money.


Never give out your personal codes


With a high degree of vigilance, these fraudulent messages and calls can be recognized quickly. In order not to fall into the trap, this campaign provides the necessary tips. You can find out how to recognize phishing and what to look out for on www.safeonweb.be. The central message of the campaign is: watch out if you receive a suspicious message and never share personal (response) codes or passwords. So be smarter than a phisher.


Forward suspicious messages to verdacht@safeonweb.be


Always forward fraudulent messages to verdacht@safeonweb.be. The CCB can block suspect links in these messages. This year, the CCB already received 3.7 million suspicious messages from alert citizens (that's an average of more than 12,000 per day) and was able to report more than 1.3 million fraudulent websites to Google and Microsoft that can block them. In addition, the CCB sends an average of 25,000 redirects to a safe page every day after clicks on suspicious links. If someone else clicks on that link afterwards, that person will receive a clear warning not to surf to that page. In this way, each of us can contribute to a safe digital environment.


Brand new app


In addition, the campaign also wants to draw attention to a brand new app that collects all news about phishing and warns of cyber threats and new forms of online scams. This way you stay informed in a quick and easy way. The information that the app disseminates is the result of a careful analysis of the thousands of messages that Safeonweb receives every day. The app also sends an alert if an infection has been reported to Safeonweb on your registered Wi-Fi network. The Safeonweb app is available free of charge for iOS in the App Store and Android in the Google Play Store. This is a unique collaboration between alert citizens and a fast government.

What to do if you have become a victim of phishing?

It is best to take the following steps:

  • Call Card Stop immediately on 078 170 170.
  • Notify your bank as soon as possible.
  • Report to the police immediately.
  • Change your passwords and possibly do a virus scan if you think you have installed malware.