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Scam messages on the rise, organisations must take action

By Catherine Knowles
Fri 2 Jul 2021

More than half of consumers trust organisations less after receiving scam messages, according to a global study from Callsign.

The study shows that simply receiving a scam message purporting to be from any brand is enough for 52% of them to lose trust in the organisation, regardless of any association with the message.

Industries most targeted by fraudsters are financial services and public sector organisations, with consumers stating that of all scam messages they receive 60% claim to represent their bank, or a public sector provider (40%).

The scam problem is rampant across all communications channels. Globally, on average, individuals who receive scam messages via all channels receive 1133 a year, with more than a quarter 28% saying they receive more messages from fraudsters than friends and family.

With 52% of consumers admitting they don't report fraudulent messages, the scale of scam messaging and victims is likely to be underestimated, Callsign states.

The survey is also a reminder that consumers have a choice. Almost a third (29%) of consumers who have been a victim of fraud say they have stopped using the company whose name the fraudster used to execute the scam.

In comparison, consumers are less likely to leave the channel the scam is executed through (only 13% would leave their network provider), demonstrating that regardless of the scam method, it's the brand that is mimicked that suffers.

SMS appears to be the weakest link, with only 8% of consumers thinking it is a safe channel to communicate with their bank or retailer. In addition, the channel has seen a 57% decrease in trust from those surveyed just because they have received a scam text message.

Callsign senior vice president of innovation, Stuart Dobbie, says, "Fraud hides in volume and the rapid migration of the global population online in the last 18 months has led to the industrialisation of scams.

"The consequence is fraudsters are using the same channels we're using to authenticate genuine consumers, and this is harming organisations' reputations with the decrease of trust in their brands."

Dobbie says, "Organisations need to re-evaluate the communications channels they use to interact with customers to better establish trust. With fraudsters monopolising open channels such as SMS and email, these channels cannot be relied upon to also authenticate identity.

"Our research shows that almost half (45%) of consumers think identity is the problem and that people should prove who they are when signing up to use a platform to stop scammers. These consumer concerns emphasise organisations must wake up to the importance of digital identification."

Dobbie concludes, "If organisations are to maintain and build trust in the digital world, they need to better balance protection and experience to ensure their brand is not tarnished by scammers.

"With Intelligence Driven Authentication, organisations can overcome the fraudsters, protect their brand, create seamless and secure customer journeys and build all important digital trust."

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