53% of respondents who fell victim to online scams, were convinced the offer was legitimate because the website looked real, while nearly 48% of the scams were financial.
The just-released KnowBe4 2023 Online Scams and Victims in Africa Report shows that nearly half of the survey participants have fallen victim to an online scam at least once, losing thousands of dollars in the process and compromising their personal data.
The report is based on a survey of 800 respondents across eight African countries namely Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Morocco, Egypt, Mauritius, and Botswana.
According to the report, 53% of the respondents who fell victim, were convinced the offer was legitimate because the website looked real, while nearly 48% of the scams were financial.
“These numbers highlight that online scams have evolved,” says Anna Collard, senior vice president Content Strategy & Evangelist at KnowBe4 Africa.
“What is concerning is that 43% 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.
“Their emotional states can affect a person’s judgment, awareness, and decision-making causing them to be more vulnerable to online deception.”
Financial scams were the most common type of online fraud affecting half of the respondents (50%). Other prevalent scams involved fake investments (30%), cryptocurrencies and NFTs (29%), brand impersonation (28%), information theft (24%), online shopping (21%), and fake job offers (21%).
Less frequent but still significant scams included the classic Nigerian scam (17%), family or friend impersonation (18%), law enforcement impersonation (7%), tax fraud (6%), holiday fraud (9%), romance fraud (13%), and lottery fraud (15%).
In Nigeria, however, social media was the most used platform for scams (32%) while in South Africa email was the dominant method (28%).
The scammers often used social engineering techniques to convince their victims such as creating rapport or trust by making websites look legitimate, sending messages that appealed to emotions, using social media profiles that seemed authentic, and avoiding spelling or grammar mistakes.
Collard says the statistics reveal a more evolved and sophisticated network of scammers who use emerging technology to lure people into costly mistakes. Thirty percent lost between $100 and $1 000, 40% around $100, and 9% more than $1 000.
“The report shows how vulnerable people are to online scams and the emotional distress they cause,” says Collard.
“While respondents were aware of scams and understood the risks, many still said they did not feel prepared which highlights the need for regular training that gives people continuous awareness of scams and the threat they pose to themselves and their organisations.”