The financial sector has in the last decade undergone a full scale digital transformation that has changed how users send and receive money.
Sending money across borders is today as simple as sending a text message while innovations such as mobile money wallets have provided a variety of options for receivers to access and store their cash.
Digital finance has, however, come with the heightened risk of fraud. Online scammers are not new, but they are today more active than ever thanks to the mass migration of financial services online.
Financial losses resulting from online scams run into billions of dollars each year and can be devastating for individuals and communities. Below are some tips that can help protect you from scammers.
Make sure you are using a licensed provider
Use only reputable and licensed payment providers. Go online to the relevant financial regulator website to determine if the payment provider is licensed. As an example, WorldRemit, which is one of the popular digital money transfer services enabling migrants to send cash back home, is a fully licensed international money transfer service.
Check availability of customer support and user reviews
Even if you are using a digital service that is easy to use, it is always reassuring to know that you can turn to a customer support team in case of difficulties or questions. WorldRemit has 24/7 customer support, meaning you can get help or questions answered at any time in any place around the world. It’s also important to note that the best source of information on the safety, security and general user experience of a service is other users. Visit a reputable website like TrustPilot to get users’ feedback on a service. WorldRemit currently has a 4.1 rating on TrustPilot, with more than 65,000 unique reviews.
If it sounds too good to be true, avoid it
There are many reasons why people use digital payments services – receiving money from friends and relatives abroad is just one of them. You may use a digital payments service to process payments for online work, your online business or to cash in on online investments. In the latter cases, it’s only natural to look for the most affordable option in order to maximize your return. When looking for an affordable service to use, be wary of persons or companies that approach you purporting to save you huge transaction or foreign exchange fees as long as they handle the transaction for you. If it’s too good to be true, avoid it.
Stay vigilant and up to date on latest trends
Be alert for scams that target consumers after the completion of a transaction. It’s not uncommon for scammers purporting to be tech support to inform you that there is something wrong with your transaction or account. To avoid becoming a target of such scams, do not provide sensitive data such as your password, your date of birth and other personal information to suspicious people. Familiarize yourself with the official communication channels of your service providers and avoid communicating through unofficial lines – it’s mostly always a scam. Also stay updated on the latest information security trends, including ensuring you use a service with the latest encryption features and with clear disclosures about what personal information they collect, how they store it, and how they use it.
Keeping these simple tips in mind can save you, your business, friends and loved ones from financial losses arising from online payment scams.
Kenyan Business Feed is the top Kenyan Business Blog. We share news from Kenya and across the region. To contact us with any alert, please email us to [email protected]