Think You Know How to Spot a Scam? New Visa Report Finds That Even Savvy Consumers Get Tripped Up by the Language of Fraud
'Winning,' 'free gift,' 'exclusive deal,' 'act now' are among top language traps cited in Visa’s 'Fraudulese: The Language of Fraud' report
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A new research report out today from
From a spoofed service notification from your electric company, to an email alerting you that you’ve won products from your favorite store, or even job postings that make it seem like you’ve been hired by a top-tier company, scams hit almost every touchpoint in our digital lives. In the last year alone,
“Understanding the language of fraud is increasingly essential in our digital-first world. Scammers have reached new heights of sophistication in both language and variety – no one is immune,” said
Earlier this year as part of Visa’s efforts to empower consumers to learn about the language of fraud, the company commissioned a first-of-its-kind linguistic analysis by researchers in the
“By highlighting the communicative strategies, words and phrases used by fraudsters, we hope people can more easily spot the language of fraud as it stands today, which ultimately helps to protect them,” said Dr.
Exploring The Language of Fraud: A Disconnect Between Awareness and Action
Falling victim to cyber fraud is costly. In 2021, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center reported a record number of complaints, with potential losses exceeding
According to Visa’s new report, which surveyed 6,000 adults in 18 markets worldwide, scammers appear to be thriving in the gap between consumers’ awareness of the language of fraud and their actual behavior. Among the top findings:
We think others are more susceptible to fraud than we are. While consumers feel confident in their own vigilance, the vast majority (90%) are concerned that friends or family members may fall for potential scams that include emails or text messages asking people to verify their account information, asking about overdrawn banking accounts and notifying them about winning a gift card or product from an online shopping site.
The most enticing clickbait messages capitalize on consumer excitement, and fraudulently tout “winning,” “exclusive deals” or “free gift,” the survey found.
- Is it legitimate? More than 4 in 5 (81%) respondents check the wrong details to determine the authenticity of a communication, focusing on features scammers can easily fake, including the company’s name or logo (46%). Individuals can better protect themselves from fraudsters by checking details that are harder to fake, such as account numbers or details about their interactions with the company.
- Overlooking telltale signs. Only 60% of people reported looking to ensure a communication is sent from a valid email address. Fewer than half (47%) look to ensure words are spelled properly.
- Crypto users proceed with caution. Crypto users are more likely to identify the right kind of verifying elements of a potential scam than non-crypto owners. For example, they are more likely to check their account information (49% vs 37%) to confirm the validity of digital communications.
Take a Few Extra Moments to Decipher Fraudulese
Consumers can better protect themselves by taking a few extra moments before clicking, including taking time to understand the way fraudsters use language. Among simple, but effective best practices: Keep personal information to yourself. Don’t click on links before verifying they’ll take you where they say they will. Turn on purchase alerts, which provide near real-time notification by text message or email of purchases made with your account. Call the number on corporate websites or the back of your credit and debit cards if you are unsure if a communication is valid – don't just call the number possibly provided by the scammer in their text or email.
Protection Is Visa’s Top Priority
While cybercrime persists in an increasingly digital world,