Kigali, Rwanda,

Third-party Seller and Money Mule Scams Are the Top Types of Fraud in Rwanda, According to TransUnion

Phishing, smishing, and vishing are increasingly prevalent.

New data published by global information and insights provider, TransUnion (NYSE: TRU), in its 2023 State of Omnichannel Fraud Report, shows that over 32% of Rwandans said they had been targeted by fraud from September to December 2022. Rwandan consumers were primarily targeted by third-party seller scams on legitimate websites. The same percentage of Rwandans were targeted by money mule scams, where fraudsters ask them to transfer or move illegally-acquired money on behalf of someone else.

Additionally, 29% of Rwandans had experienced phishing attempts – fraudulent emails, websites of social posts intent on stealing data – while 26% experienced smishing in which fraudulent text messages attempted to trick them into revealing personal data. A little more than one-fifth (22%) of Rwandans experienced vishing attempts – fraudulent phone calls where fraudsters tried to get them to reveal personal information. 

During the same time, the top types of digital fraud which Rwandan consumers were most worried about differed slightly from the attempts reported. Third-party seller scams led Rwandan consumers’ concerns about digital fraud (42%) followed by account takeover (38%), stolen credit card or fraudulent charges (37%), identity theft (36%), money mule scams (35%), and phishing (34%).

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.

Samuel Tayengwa, acting chief executive officer TransUnion Rwanda, 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,” said Tayengwa. “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.

“Rwandan 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.” 

While 7% of Rwandan consumers said that they were targeted by and have become a victim of an email, online, phone call or text messaging fraud scheme between September and December 2022, 56% said they had been targeted but did not fall victim. Of those Rwandans that discovered that they were victims of fraud, 23% contacted the police and the affected credit card provider or retailer, and 19% placed a freeze on their credit.

Tayengwa 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 Rwanda 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.