More Nigerians are falling victim to online fraud through social media, a report has shown.

The 2023 Online Scams in Africa Report by KnowBe4 2023 noted financial scams, fake investments, cryptocurrencies and NFTs scams, brand impersonation, information theft, online shopping scams, and fake job offers, dominated the fraud scene.

It stated that nearly half of the people it surveyed had fallen victim to an online scam at least once, losing thousands of dollars in the process and compromising their personal data.

The report read, “An email was the preferred channel for scammers to initiate contact, accounting for 24 per cent of the cases. Social media came in second with 19 per cent, followed by WhatsApp with 10 per cent and other messaging services like Telegram with eight per cent.

“In Nigeria, however, social media was the most used platform for scams (32 per cent), while in South Africa, email was the dominant method (28 per cent).”

The report revealed that its findings were based on 800 African surveyed in eight African countries, including South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Morocco, Egypt, Mauritius, and Botswana.

It said 40 per cent of the respondents from the eight countries had been scammed online, 53 per cent of the respondents who fell victim were convinced the offer was legitimate because the website looked real, and nearly 48 per cent of the scams were financial.

The Senior Vice President of Content Strategy, KnowBe4 Africa, Anna Collard, said, “These numbers highlight that online scams have evolved.

“What is concerning is that 43 per cent of the victims were distracted and multitasking when they fell for the scam, which highlights how easy it is for a person to make a mistake when they are not paying attention. Their emotional states can affect a person’s judgment, awareness, and decision-making, causing them to be more vulnerable to online deception.”

The report noted that financial scams were the most common type of online fraud, affecting nearly half of the respondents. Other prevalent scams involved fake investments (30 per cent), cryptocurrencies and NFTs (29 per cent), brand impersonation (28 per cent), information theft (24 per cent), online shopping (21 per cent), and fake job offers (21 per cent).

It added that other less frequent but still significant scams included the classic Nigerian scam (17 per cent), family or friend impersonation (18 per cent), law enforcement impersonation (7 per cent), tax fraud (6 per cent), holiday fraud (9 per cent), romance fraud (13 per cent), and lottery fraud (15 per cent).

It highlighted, “The scammers often used social engineering techniques to convince their victims, such as creating rapport or trust by making websites look legitimate, sending messages that appealed to emotions, using social media profiles that seemed authentic, and avoiding spelling or grammar mistakes.”

Collard further stated that the statistics revealed 30 per cent of the victims lost between $100 and $1,000; 40 per cent around $100 and nine per cent more than $1,000.

The VP added, “The report shows how vulnerable people are to online scams and the emotional distress they cause.

“While respondents were aware of scams and understood the risks. Many still said they did not feel prepared, which highlights the need for regular training that gives people continuous awareness of scams and the threat they pose, to themselves and their organisations,” he added.

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