Digital fraudsters target financial services, travel and leisure industries

Martin Endjala

Namibia’s financial services providers and travel and leisure industries have reported the highest number of attempts at digital fraud in the first half of 2023, according to an analysis report by TransUnion Africa. These attempted fraud activities occurred between January 1st and June 30th, 2023.

Out of all digital transactions made by consumers in Namibia, 1.4 percent were suspected to be fraudulent attempts.

Financial services providers and retailers experienced the highest rates of suspected digital fraud attempts, standing at 3.9 percent and 3.5 percent, respectively.

The gaming sector, including online sports betting and poker, ranked third with a suspected fraud attempt rate of 1.4 percent.

Lara Burger, the Country Manager of TransUnion Namibia, highlighted that as both Namibian consumers and businesses increasingly engage in digital transactions, fraudsters are also on the rise.

The report revealed that the global suspected digital fraud rate reached 5.3 percent in the first half of 2023, up from 4.5 percent the previous year.

Corresponding to the surge in fraud rates, Burger noted that digital transactions in the financial services sector from Namibia grew by 25 percent in the first half of 2022, reaching 23 percent in 2023.

She emphasized the need for meaningful solutions to prevent fraud and suggested that focusing solely on fraud rates may not provide a comprehensive perspective.

“It is not enough to look at fraud rates alone when attempting to measure the impact of digital fraud on any particular industry. Other factors, such as the overall size of the industry, its growth rate, and industry-specific dynamics, must be considered. This comprehensive perspective can help identify where fraudsters may focus their efforts in the future,” she explained.

Meanwhile, Sam Tayengwa, the Head of Growth at TransUnion Africa, revealed that nearly seven out of ten Namibian consumers reported being targeted by fraudsters in the first half of 2023.

This analysis coincides with TransUnion’s recent 2023 third-quarter Namibia Consumer Pulse Study, which explored consumer awareness of online, email, phone call, or text messaging fraud attempts in the last three months.

The survey found that 70 percent of Namibians reported being targeted, with 59 percent avoiding falling victim, while 11 percent, unfortunately, fell prey to fraud.

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