The study, which was conducted by Wakefield Research in countries across Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa (CEMEA), found that 53% of Egyptians have been victims of a scam at least once. Even more alarming, 14% of the victims have been tricked multiple times.
The study also found that 91% of Egyptians are likely to disregard warning signs that suggest online criminal activity. This is despite the fact that 58% of Egyptians claim to be savvy enough to sidestep online and phone scams.
“In today’s digital-first world, scams are evolving in sophistication with criminals using new approaches to trick unsuspecting consumers,” said Leila Serhan, Senior Vice President and Group Country Manager for North Africa, Levant and Pakistan (NALP), Visa. “Whether it’s a parcel held up at customs, a streaming subscription claiming to have expired, or a free voucher for a favorite brand, scammers are adopting extremely persuasive tactics to deceive their victims.”
The study identified several key findings that highlight the disconnect between awareness and action among Egyptian consumers:
- Knowledgeable or naïve: Considering themselves knowledgeable might make people even more vulnerable, as false confidence can propel someone to click on a fake link or respond to a scam offer.
- People worry about the vulnerability of others: While respondents feel confident in their own vigilance, over half (47%) 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.
- What makes people suspicious: In addition to notices involving orders, product offers, or feedback, people are most suspicious of password requests. Less suspicious types of communications are updates regarding delivery or shipping, marketing communications regarding a sale or new product offering, or an invitation to provide feedback on a recent experience – all of which can be used by scammers.
- Overlooking telltale signs: Only 51% reported looking to ensure a communication is sent from a valid email address, while 60% will check if the company name or logo was attached to the message. Fewer than half of respondents look for an order number (41%) or an account number (48%).
The study also found that scammers often use certain language patterns to craft messages that appear genuine and compel recipients to take immediate action. These patterns include:
- Orchestrating urgency: Cybercriminals often feign urgency to spur people into action, such as clicking a link or responding to a sender. Up to 41% of respondents will fall for messages about a security risk, such as a stolen password or a data breach.
- Sharing positive news: 74% of respondents would take action if a message had a positive hook, like “free gift,” “you’ve been selected,” or “you’re a winner.”
- Action required: 65% of respondents would respond to action-required phrases though respondents are most suspicious of requests to reset their password.