Wednesday, September 13th, 2023 05:40 | By
You are most likely to be defrauded online when you are busy or multitasking on the internet, a new report says.
About four out of 10 internet users, according to the KnowBe4 Africa survey, fall prey to online scammers due to divided attention. Anna Collard, SVP Content Strategy and Evangelist at KnowBe4 Africa, a global provider of security awareness training and simulated phishing platform, says the numbers highlight that online scams have evolved.
“What is concerning is that 43 per cent of the victims were distracted and multi-tasking when they fell for the scam, which highlights how easy it is for a person to make a mistake when they are not paying attention,” she adds. “Emotional states can affect a person’s judgment, awareness, and decision-making, causing them to be more vulnerable to online deception.”
The KnowBe4 2023 Online Scams and Victims in Africa Report is based on a survey of 800 respondents across eight African countries, including South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Morocco, Egypt, Mauritius, and Botswana.
It says 53 per cent of the respondents who fell victim, were convinced the offer was legitimate because the website looked real, while nearly 48 per cent of the scams were financial.
“Financial scams were the most common type of online fraud, affecting nearly half of the respondents (50pc),” the report adds.
This was closely followed by investment scams (30pc), crypto scams with fake NFT (non-fungible token) or crypto projects (29 per cent), impersonating a brand (28pc), information theft (24pc) with both fake jobs and online shopping scams at 21 per cent.
Highly ranked also were dating and romance scams at 13 per cent, holiday fraud at 9 per cent while lottery fraud stood at 15 per cent. Last month, Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) Director-General
Ezra Chiloba urged counties and state agencies to deploy cyber security experts to cushion themselves against cyber security threats. This came amid increased threats to Kenya’s security systems.
The country has recorded an estimated seven million cyber-attacks in a five-year period leading to May 2023. This ranks Kenya as among the top three African countries under threat of cyber-attacks behind South Africa and Nigeria.
According to the KnowBe4 Africa survey carried out in June, scammers have devised cunning methods of getting people’s attention including the use of trusted names, brands and their family members.
“It seems evident that this (online scam) is a threat affecting a large proportion of the African population. It is also becoming increasingly sophisticated as cybercriminals seek out new ways of tricking consumers to unwittingly participating in their scams,” it explains. Most of the cybercrime victims were scammed through emails, social media and WhatsApp messages.
“The majority of scams made initial contact over email at 24 per cent, closely followed by social media at 19 per cent and WhatsApp message at 10 per cent,” the report says. “Other messaging services like Telegram, malicious adverts, and phone calls accounted for 8 per cent each while 7 per cent were scammed through SMS and another 3 per cent were defrauded through a compromised website.”