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Monday, November 28, 2022

Namibia leads in digital fraud attempts

This article first appeared in The Namibian.

A Trans­Union quarterly fraud analysis, released on Tuesday, shows that the rate of suspected digital fraud attempts originating from Namibia has decreased across several sectors, but showed significant year-on-year increases in the financial services and gambling industries.

One of the affected financial institutions is Standard Bank Namibia, which has sent out a warning to clients against fraudsters who phone, asking for personal banking details.

“Take note that scammers are using the name of one of our employees, Kevin Mouton, and others, to scam people into sharing their account details. It is not the bank calling, they are impersonating our employees.

“Be reminded that we will never ask you for any bank account credentials, internet banking user ID, one-time passwords (OTPs), or to confirm your bank balance/activities over the phone,” the bank says.

Minister of defence and veterans affairs Frans Kapofi recently lost N$200 000 (about R240 000) to alleged fraudsters after he confirmed his Standard Bank details telephonically.

Many other people have fallen victim to financial fraud, with many cases going unreported.

“TransUnion is a global information and insights company that makes trust possible in the modern economy by providing an actionable picture of each person so they can be reliably represented in the marketplace,” the analysis says.

Their clients include some of the largest banks and microfinance, some of the largest insurance and fintech companies, and telecom providers.

TransUnion’s data on fraud against businesses is based on intelligence from billions of transactions and more than 40 000 websites and apps contained in its flagship identity proofing, risk-based authentication, and fraud analytics solution suite – TransUnion TruValidate.

The global insurance industry saw a year-on-year suspected digital fraud attempt rate increase of 159% in the second quarter of 2022, while this increased by 13% in the global logistics sector.

“For transactions originating from Namibia, the industry that saw the biggest increase in the rate of suspected digital fraud attempts was in the financial services sector, which saw a massive increase of 229% year on year,” TransUnion says.

The other industry to see a big increase in the rate of suspected digital fraud coming from Namibia was gambling, which increased by 179% year on year, the analysis says.

“We observed interesting trends in the first half of 2022 with suspected fraudulent activity in the insurance industry continuing to be elevated,” says Shai Cohen, the senior vice president of TransUnion.

“In recent years, we have seen fraudsters shift their industry focus each quarter. At this time, we believe the insurance industry is seeing more ‘soft fraud’, because some consumers may be representing their policies incorrectly in an effort to save money, especially in a high inflation environment that places more pressure on their wallets.”

The analysts say that globally, industries seeing the largest declines in the rate of suspected digital fraudulent activity from the second quarter of 2021 to the second quarter of 2022 included gaming (-63%), travel and leisure (-28%), and retail (-28%).

TransUnion observed the largest declines from Namibian-based transactions in travel and leisure (-39%), retail (-9%) and communities, which include online forums and dating sites at -9%.

“The focus across industries has been on identifying more of the good transactions and customers to allow them to pass with less friction,” Amritha Reddy, the head of fraud at TransUnion Africa, says.

“Strong fraud and authentication practices decrease false positives and focus fraud-fighting resources on the minority of interactions that warrant scrutiny.

“By reducing the pool of manual reviews and customer interrogations, organisations can dramatically reduce costs, increase revenue, and improve the overall customer experience,” Reddy says.

The Namibian

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