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Around one in three UAE online shoppers struggle to identify fraud, scams: Survey

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Around one in three online shoppers in the United Arab Emirates still struggle to identify fraud and scams, according to a survey conducted by the digital payments giant Visa and Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism.

According to the 2022 Stay Secure survey, the majority of the respondents said they wanted to know more about how their personal information is handled and protected before providing it to an ecommerce website.

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“Consumers value security more than price when it comes to how their personal data is handled are important insights for merchants looking to build and maintain consumer trust in their payment offerings,” Visa’s Head of Risk for Middle East and North Africa Neil Fernandes said in a press statement.

“The fact that a third of consumers are still unable to identify a potential fraud reinforces the need for all players in the payments ecosystem to continue to work together to ensure consumers are protected,” he added.

In addition, around three quarters of those surveyed stated that they would like to know how security technology works to be able to trust digital payment methods in general, highlighting the need for payment industry stakeholders to focus on consumer education.

“Now in its seventh year, our Stay Secure campaign continues to be an important platform for Visa, Dubai Police, and the Department of Economy and Tourism in Dubai, to help educate consumers about payment security and support merchants in meeting the increasing need for secure, seamless digital payments both in-store and online,” said Fernandes.

The survey also found that 84 percent of consumers said the security of payment facilities offered on a merchant website was the top reason they would opt to pay online instead of Cash on Delivery (COD).

This same trend was also observed in-store, where consumers ranked security of the merchant’s payment facility as the utmost important factor (65 percent) when considering digital payment options to pay for goods and services.

Visa and Det suggested in a statement some steps that can be taken by businesses to increase consumer trust and improve their payment experiences. The suggestions included disclosing measures to protect consumers’ personal information, providing clear information about guarantees and refund options, and displaying logos or symbols of banking and payment partners.

The survey corresponds with the launch of Visa’s ‘Stay Secure’ social media campaign which has been done in partnership with DET and Dubai Police, serving as a reminder to continue to enforce safe digital payment practices and remind consumers on how they can protect personal data.

The findings also come as the UAE, along with other Gulf countries, continue to experience an uptick in ecommerce activities since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the past month, cybersecurity experts have warned of a rise in online scams which were specifically targeting users in the Middle East, one example was the widescale phishing campaign launched by cybercriminals who impersonated renowned delivery and postal service brands in the region.

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