Communication hasn’t been simpler, faster, and smarter than it has been in the 21st century. The developments in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has been unprecedented. These advancements have further added meaning to the popular phrase; “the world is a global village”. We have grown to become close neighbours simply because we can connect with one another merely from a tap/click on a phone or computer screens. Most important too, commerce has greatly enjoyed technological advancements. Gone are the days we were forced to always stop by a grocery shop to make purchases.
Nowadays, all you need do is place an order online and someone will locate you with your order ready for a take. Getting things done hasn’t been this easy. And many financial activities have turned to the impersonal space. “The global digital payments market is expected to grow from $3,885.6 billion in 2019 to about $5,439.8 billion in 2020. People are using digital payment options to avoid contact and spread of infection through direct cash handling, and also to adhere to social distancing to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Due to the closure of local market places and to avoid public gathering, people are preferring online purchases of essential supplies, which in turn is increasing the demand for the digital payments market. The market is expected to stabilize and reach $8,059.3 billion at a CAGR of 20% through 2023.” (https://www.marketwatch.com/press-release/global-digital-payments-market-industry-analysis-size-share-growth-trends-and-forecast-2020-2025-2020-05-05). These records are stunning. But amidst these highs has also been an increase in the cases of internet fraud. “The statistics gathered by the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) for 2018 show Internet-enabled theft, fraud, and exploitation remain pervasive and were responsible for a staggering $2.7 billion in financial losses in 2018.
In its annual Internet Crime Report, the FBI reports the IC3 received 351,937 complaints in 2018—an average of more than 900 every day. The most frequently reported complaints were for non-payment/non-delivery scams, extortion, and personal data breaches. The most financially costly complaints involved business email compromise, romance or confidence fraud, and investment scams, which can include Ponzi and pyramid schemes.” (https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/ic3-releases-2018-internet-crime-report-042219). This is no joke.
These fraudulent acts also do come in the form of; Phishing email scams, The Nigerian scam, Greeting card scams, Bank loan or credit card scam, Lottery scam, Hitman scam, Romance scams, Fake antivirus software, Facebook impersonation scam (hijacked profile scam), Make money fast scams (Economic scams) Travel scams, Bitcoin scams, Fake news scam, Fake shopping websites, Loyalty points phishing scam, Job offer scams, SMS Scamming(Smshing), Overpayment Online Scam, Tech Support Online Scams. (https://heimdalsecurity.com/blog/top-online-scams/). All these are on the rise and becoming sophisticated.
Internet vigilance has become more than necessary. Let this be the umpteen time you hear this call. All suspicious and unofficial correspondences should be properly interrogated and confirmed from your financial institution(s). Keep your financial details a secret. Don’t fall for the tricks.