Lusaka, Zambia,

Phishing, Vishing, and Smishing Are Among the Top Types of Fraud in Zambia, According to TransUnion

New data published by global information and insights provider, TransUnion (NYSE: TRU), in its 2023 State of Omnichannel Fraud Report shows that over 42% of Zambians said they had been targeted by fraud from September to December 2022. Zambian consumers were primarily targeted by ‘smishing’ attacks, where fraudulent text messages attempt to trick them into revealing personal data.

Additionally, 36% of targeted Zambians experienced attempts to lure them into money mule scams, where they were solicited to transfer or move illegally acquired money on behalf of someone else.

During the same time, 35% of targeted Zambians experienced ‘phishing’ attempts, where fraudulent emails, websites or social posts attempted to steal their data, while 31% experienced ‘vishing attempts, where fraudulent callers tried to get them to reveal personal information.

However, the top types of digital fraud which Zambian consumers were most worried about differed from the attempts reported. Two-thirds of Zambians (67%) were concerned that their accounts would be taken over and used without their permission, 64% feared identity theft, and 63% were worried about third-party seller scams on legitimate online retail sites.

Data in the 2023 State of Omnichannel Fraud Report blends proprietary insights from TransUnion’s global intelligence network and a specially commissioned TransUnion consumer survey in 18 countries and regions globally.

The study showed that globally, 4.6% of all digital transactions were suspected to be fraudulent. This percentage is in line with the rates found in 2019. However, despite the similarities to the percentage prior to the pandemic, due to the marked rise in number of digital transactions in the last few years, the total volume of all suspected digital fraud attempts has increased dramatically. Globally, such attempts have increased by 80% from 2019 to 2022.

Mildred Stephenson, chief executive officer at TransUnion Zambia, said: “The explosion of digital transactions, the accelerated adoption of digital technologies, and increasing appetites for faster access to funds and credit, have led to an increase in fraud losses, particularly in digital channels. Consumers are expecting organisations to protect their identities and online accounts, and those companies that do not adequately honour those preferences may lose business as a result.”

“Zambian businesses need to take proactive steps to protect themselves and their customers. This means ensuring that identity proofing and authentication is up-to-date and as robust as possible.” 

Of Zambian consumers surveyed, 75% said they had been targeted by an email, online, phone call or text message fraud scheme and 12% of those fell victim. Nearly one-third (32%) of the Zambians that had discovered that they were victims of fraud placed a freeze on their credit accounts, while 26% called the police.  

Stephenson continued: “Rates of digital fraud attempts by sector tend to change rapidly, as fraudsters innovatively shift focus to where there are new opportunities to make financial gain. They will be agile in targeting consumers and organisations as Zambia navigates this current period of global economic uncertainty.

“At TransUnion, we help businesses across a wide range of industries prevent fraud by using intelligent predictive solutions to deliver better experiences – helping to outflank those who would take advantage otherwise and reassure customers that their personal data will not be compromised.”

TransUnion monitors digital fraud attempts reported by businesses in varied industries such as gaming, financial services, healthcare, insurance, retail, and travel and leisure, among others. The conclusions are based on intelligence from billions of transactions and more than 40,000 websites and apps contained in TransUnion’s flagship identity proofing, risk-based authentication and fraud analytics solution suite –TruValidate.

For more information and insights about our global fraud trends, please download the report here.