Overconfidence exposing consumers to online fraud

False confidence can propel someone to click on a fake link or respond to a scam offer. [iStockphoto]

Overconfidence is leaving consumers in Kenya at risk of becoming victims of fraud, according to Visa's latest Stay Secure study.

Research across 17 countries in Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa (CEMEA) revealed a disconnect between consumers' confidence in recognising fraud and their online behaviour.

Despite more than half of consumers (65 per cent vs 56 per cent global average) claiming to be savvy enough to sidestep online and phone scams, 90 per cent are likely to disregard the warning signs that suggest online criminal activity. On average, the study found, millennials and Gen Zers are least likely to respond to a requested action by a scammer in a text message or email, 38 per cent and 42 per cent respectively, whilst boomers respond to two in three such requests (67 per cent).

The study forms Visa's Stay Secure Campaign, focused on raising consumer awareness, strengthening education, and building confidence to combat social engineering threats.

Through the initiative, Visa provides educational content, including videos, infographics, and tips designed to equip consumers with the knowledge and skills to recognise and prevent fraud.

Nearly three-quarters of Kenyans (74 per cent) surveyed have been a victim of a scam at least once in their life and are most concerned that their family or friends will fall victim to a fake recruiter on career networking or job sites (75 per cent) or investment scams promising financial gain (67 per cent).

"In today's digital-first world, scams are evolving in sophistication, with criminals using new approaches to trick unsuspecting consumers. Whether it's a parcel held up at customs, a streaming subscription claiming to have expired, or a free voucher for a favourite brand, scammers are adopting persuasive tactics to deceive," explains Visa's Acting General Manager for East Africa and Country Manager for Kenya Eva Ngigi-Sarwari.

The study found that false confidence can propel someone to click on a fake link or respond to a scam offer.

"Those who consider themselves more knowledgeable are more likely to respond to a requested action from scammers compared to those who say they are less knowledgeable, including positive news or urgent action," notes the study. And while respondents feel confident in their own vigilance, over half (63 per cent vs 52 per cent globally) are concerned that their friends or families will fall for a scam email offering a free gift card or product from an online shopping site.

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