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Beware of Rising Online and Phone Scams in the UAE

According to a new report released on Thursday, more than half of UAE citizens had at least once been victims of online or phone scams.

According to a recent study released on Thursday, more than half of UAE residents have experienced online or phone scams at least once, with 17 percent falling victim to multiple scams.

Overconfidence and Risk:

Visa’s annual Stay Secure study highlighted a concerning trend: despite 61 percent of UAE shoppers claiming to be scam-savvy, nine in 10 consumers are still vulnerable to scammers due to overconfidence. 

Neil Fernandes, Visa’s head of risk for Middle East and North Africa (Mena), emphasized the evolving sophistication of scams in today’s digital landscape. 

Criminals use persuasive tactics to deceive victims, such as fabricated parcel delays, expired subscription notices, or enticing free vouchers.

Caution in the Digital Realm:

Fernandes stressed the importance of heightened caution in the digital payment sphere, urging UAE consumers to comprehend the language of fraud.

Crafting messages that appear genuine and compel immediate action, scammers continuously adapt and adopt new approaches to deceive recipients.

Preventive Measures:

Authorities, law enforcement agencies, and financial institutions have consistently issued alerts, advising residents against sharing personal and financial details with strangers. 

Additionally, residents are encouraged to shop via reputable platforms to evade falling into fraudsters’ traps, as reported by the Khaleej Times.

Protecting Against Cyber Frauds:

Simple yet effective practices were suggested to safeguard against cyber frauds:

  • Keep personal account information confidential.
  • Verify links before clicking to ensure authenticity.
  • Regularly check purchase alerts for real-time notifications.
  • Contact corporate websites or card providers directly for validation.

Costly Overconfidence:

Conducted across Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa by Wakefield Research, the study uncovered an intriguing correlation. 

UAE consumers who perceive themselves as more knowledgeable about scams are paradoxically more likely to respond to scammer requests than those who consider themselves less informed.

Concerns and Statistics:

The survey revealed substantial concerns among respondents:

  • 51 percent fear their friends or family might fall for scam emails offering gift cards.
  • 33 percent worry about children, minors, and retired individuals becoming scam victims.

Actions Taken by Respondents:

The Visa survey found that:

  • Only 60 percent verify if communications are from valid email addresses.
  • 51 percent check for company names or logos in messages.
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