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How to stem the onward tide of fraud

What is of particular concern are the tactics and methods that fraudsters attempt in trying to get people to depart with their money.

Image: © AFP
Image: © AFP

In a recent article from the BBC, for the UK, it was reported how nearly 45 million people have received scam calls in three months. This relates to data compiled by the UK regulator for broadcasting – Ofcom.

Based on the level of scams hitting the UK, the level of fraud equates to the equivalent of £2,509 ($3000) per year for each victim. When telephone calls are removed, the impact becomes higher for someone who is hit by online fraud.

Looking into the news and the marked rise in scam activity for Digital Journal is Benoit Grange, who is the Chief Technology Evangelist at OneSpan.

Grange  begins by charting the current trajectory of fraud, finding: “Over the course of 2021, there have been a steady stream of reports like this from Ofcom highlighting that fraud scams continue to stem from the mobile channel.”

Through such means of mass communication, Grange notes how: “Fraudsters are able to run these fraud campaigns on a major scale with complete anonymity – and little to no protection in place to stop these malicious communications reaching consumers.”

What is of particular concern are the tactics and methods that fraudsters attempt in trying to get people to depart with their money. Grange says: “Social engineering methods deployed by fraudsters are designed to exploit and mislead people, especially those who are less digitally savvy.”

While call authentication systems do exist that can help stop some fraudulent activity, these are seldom sufficient.

This means: “User error is – and always will be – the greatest threat to online security, so consumers must be informed about how to identify a fraudulent message or scam call.”

Therefore, Grange says, a different response is needed from government. He opines: “Fraud is so prevalent today across mobile and digital channels that we urgently need a collective effort from big tech, telecoms, and social media firms along with the financial and public sectors to address fraud with a modern approach to security.”

An appropriate response also requires that: “Banks and FIs continue to invest in the latest anti-fraud technologies such as passwordless authentication with biometrics and AI. Also, it will be just as important to rethink how we combat scams targeting consumers in the first place in order to protect the most vulnerable.”

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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