New research on behalf of bank card company Visa has revealed that nearly three quarters of people in Ireland (73%) were targeted by fraudsters sending fake text messages or emails in the past six months.
Of these, 38% said they were being targeted at least once a week.
New analysis by researchers from the Aston Institute for Forensic Linguistics (AIFL), commissioned by Visa, has for the first time identified the communicative strategies of fraudsters using short, one-off messages.
Visa said it was working to helping people spot the communicative strategies commonly used by fraudsters.
‘Click a link’ the most common fraudster technique
Amongst the examples of fraud analysed, which included text messages, emails and social media messages, it was discovered that inviting the recipient to click a link was the most common technique (87%).
This was followed by asking the reader to resolve a ‘problem’ (72%), such as rearranging package delivery times or paying a late fee, and highlighting unique offers (32%).
Supporting these findings, the researchers found ‘click here’, ‘account information’ and ‘gift card’ to be the most commonly used phrases in fraudulent communications.
To better protect customers, Visa has teamed up with researchers from AIFL to analyse the language of fraud and create the ‘Fraudulese Report’, a collection of the most common words, phrases and tactics used by fraudsters in short, one-off messages.
Dr Marton Petyko, Aston Institute for Forensic Linguistics, commented: “Our analysis is the first study of its kind that provides insight into how language is used by fraudsters in short, one-off messages, and is an important contribution to better understanding the things people should look out for when receiving unsolicited messages.
“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.”
Fraud has become increasingly sophisticated, with senders able to imitate everything from the language commonly used by businesses or organisations to logos and names.
Visa’s study found that Irish consumers are concerned about being targeted by fraudsters:
* Almost three quarters (74%) of those surveyed say they were concerned about online fraud
* More than half (54%) are concerned their parents, grandparents or children will be targeted by online fraudsters
* Almost one in ten (9%) returned a missed international phone call, which turned out to be from a fraudster
* However, 42% of survey respondents always delete unsolicited emails and more than one third (34%) check a website’s URL for spelling mistakes before making a payment
“As more of us shop online, it’s great to know that there are things we can do to keep ourselves safe,” commented Dominic White, Country Manager, Ireland, at Visa.
“Fraudsters can be extremely clever and often it’s difficult to know what’s real and what’s not.
“That’s why we’re raising awareness of ‘Fraudulese’ and sharing tips on how to identify the signs, so that everyone can have the tools they need to avoid falling victim.”
More details are available in the Visa ‘Fraudulese Report’ here.