WorldRemit: Tips on How To Avoid Online Fraud in 2022

As much as consumers are falling in love with fintech, they are also increasingly falling for online scams, putting their online security and identity at risk.

Karen Jordan, Head of UK at WorldRemit
Karen Jordan

Being exposed to online fraud is not a pleasant experience, and its effects can be very detrimental to the victim it is targeting. Taking into account our January cybersecurity coverage, Karen Jordan, the President of the United Kingdom in WorldRemit supplied the financial technology times With this very comprehensive guest post, where through her own industry insight, she details the nature of these scams, and how consumers can best avoid them.

Jordaan has over 20 years of experience working in the financial services industry, gaining specific expertise in business operations and strategies. Prior to her current position, Karen spent six years working as Chief Operating Officer in South Africa Institute of International Affairs And ten years of working as a Regional Director for South and East Africa in western union.

Since 2019, there has been a major shift in consumer habits not only in the UK but across the world. Through many restrictions and shutdowns, there has been an increase in the adoption of digital banking and financial services – thanks to the security and convenience of these platforms. During this pandemic, it is imperative that we be able to recognize and avoid scams and fraudulent activities that are very common across the web.

Over the past year, we’ve seen exponential growth in the use of digital methods for making payments, as well as sending and receiving remittances. But the current trends we are seeing indicate that the increase is likely to continue beyond the pandemic.

As the amount of money circulating online increases, so does the number of fraud cases. according to United kingdom finance, fraudsters stole a total of £754m in the first half of 2021; 30 percent more than the previous year.

What do these tricks look like?

Regarding online fraud tactics affecting the general public, there are four main types that you should be aware of: email, online dating, shopping, and Facebook social networking site tricks.

Email scams are by far the most common. Citizens advice have found
Email scams increased sevenfold in the first half of 2021, and scammers targeted 36 million adults in the UK, with the potential to target over 55s. Email scammers tend to take the approach of offering huge sums of money to help people abroad, while phishing emails are designed to trick an individual into sharing sensitive information – from names and addresses to passwords and credit card details.

Dating sites are often full of scams. This usually happens when a stranger starts a conversation with the intended victim and once they gain their trust, they start asking for gifts, money, or even credit card details.

As online shopping has become increasingly commonplace, fraudulent shopping is becoming more and more prevalent. Oftentimes, scammers use illegitimate websites disguised as trustworthy ones, or offer fake items at prices too good to be true to trick consumers into thinking they have found a great deal well below the average retail price.

Facebook and social media scams are becoming more diverse as we spend more time and share more of our lives online. They may take the form of strangers who introduce themselves as distant relatives or old family friends, and proceed to gain trust and seek help – unlike the traditional dating scam. Others include people posing as investors or legitimate companies offering potential business and investment opportunities.

With the huge increase in digital fraud in the country, consumers need to be more careful with the people they interact and deal with online, especially when it comes to money. Not only should they protect their financial information, but they should also be immediately wary of people requesting personal information such as their phone numbers, email addresses, or ID numbers.

How can we protect ourselves from online fraud?

As more of our daily lives, including how we handle our finances and shopping, have moved online, consumers must pay attention not only to the people they meet online but also the platforms and websites they interact with.

Consumers should think first before clicking on a link, or before subscribing to a financial service or online shopping site. The more aware users are, unfortunately, the more deceptive scam activities will be as well. If you believe you are the victim of fraud, you should immediately contact your bank and the police to report it.

Shoppers should also avoid outside brokers or those who offer to make transactions on their behalf, and for money transfers only deal with trustworthy platforms like WorldRemit that provide security measures to avoid fraud and other malicious activities.

A common red flag receives a message that conveys a sense of urgency and asks you to act immediately – often looking like a request from a friend, family member, or co-worker. It’s okay to ignore or deny money requests, criminals will only try to rush you or panic you. In addition, hooks like “Invest and we’ll give you 10x return” are popularly used. As a general rule, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

As a global international payments platform, WorldRemit’s main goal is to educate our users about the dangers of online fraud – a space that is developing faster than many can track. With the increasing prevalence of online payments, commerce and banking, the operators of these services need to take a leading role in raising awareness of how to spot and avoid online fraud. This is especially important because consumers who may not be familiar with the Internet move more of their financial and social lives online.

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