Visa 2023 Stay Secure study surveyed 300 consumers in Kuwait 

Kuwait City, Kuwait – December 16, 2023 - Over-confidence is leaving consumers in Kuwait open to becoming victims of fraud, according to Visa’s latest Stay Secure study released today in partnership with Kuwait Banking Association. 

The Stay Secure Study is a part of Visa’s annual Stay Secure Campaign, which reflects Visa’s commitment to raising consumer awareness, strengthening education, and building confidence to combat social engineering threats. The campaign aims to pave the way for a secure and seamless digital payments experience. 

“In today’s digital-first world, scams are evolving in sophistication with criminals using new approaches to trick unsuspecting consumers. Whether it’s a parcel held up at customs, a streaming subscription claiming to have expired, or a free voucher for a favorite brand, scammers are adopting extremely persuasive tactics to deceive their victims. With the rapid growth in digital payments, it is essential now more than ever that consumers in Kuwait understand the language of fraud and act with a high level of caution. We thank our longstanding partners at Kuwait Banking Association for their support in once again bringing our important campaign to local consumers,” explains Neil Fernandes, Visa's Head of Risk for Middle East and North Africa.

Dr. Hamad Al-Hasawi, Kuwait Banking Association’s (KBA) Secretary-General, commented: “Scammers use new and sophisticated methods every day to deceive people. That is why Kuwaiti banks and Kuwait Banking Association play a major role in constantly raising customers’ awareness – such as through our Let’s Be Aware campaign with Central Bank of Kuwait - to take caution and not deal with any suspicious transactions or claims for the purpose of fraud, as well as its endeavors to educate customers about what is new in this field.” 

Al-Hasawi stressed that Kuwaiti banks are immune and invest in reinforcing its systems through using cutting edge technology in the field of cyber security. Al-Hasawi concluded by praising Visa's efforts in educating customers and expressed his happiness for the continued partnership and cooperation between KBA and Visa for the sixth year in a row since the launch of the "Stay Secure" campaign in Kuwait.

Key Findings of the Visa Stay Secure Study:

  • Knowledgeable or naïve. Considering themselves knowledgeable might make people even more vulnerable, as false confidence can propel someone to click on a fake link or respond to a scam offer. It is concerning that those who consider themselves more knowledgeable are more likely to respond to a requested action from scammers compared to those who say they are less knowledgeable, including a positive news or urgent action.
  • People worry about the vulnerability of others. While respondents feel confident in their own vigilance, close to half are concerned that their friends or families will fall for a scam email offering a free gift card or product from an online shopping site. Over a third of respondents are concerned about children or minors, as well as retired people falling prey to online scams. 
  • What makes people suspicious. In addition to notices involving orders, product offers, or feedback, people are most suspicious of password requests. Less suspicious types of communications are updates regarding delivery or shipping, marketing communications regarding a sale or new product offering, or an invitation to provide feedback on a recent experience, all of which can be used by scammers.
  • Overlooking telltale signs. Some consumers reported they look to ensure a communication is sent from a valid email address, while others will check if the company name or logo was attached to the message. A few correspondents look for an order number or an account number. Interestingly, only a small percentage in Kuwait, similar to the global average, look to ensure words are spelt correctly.  

Decoding The Language of Fraud

Scammers try different approaches to craft messages that appear genuine and compel recipients to take immediate action. The Visa Stay Secure Study identified prevalent patterns in the language most associated with scams – and how vulnerable respondents in the surveyed countries are. 

  • Orchestrating Urgency: Cybercriminals often feign urgency to spur people into action, such as clicking a link or responding to a sender. The study revealed that people are more likely to fall for messages about a security risk, such as a stolen password or a data breach, while a notice from a government entity or law enforcement can trick several consumers as well.   
  • Sharing Positive News: Several respondents would take action if a message had a positive hook, like “free gift,” “you’ve been selected,” or “you’re a winner.” Gen Zers are more likely to act on a giveaway than a notice from the government, while some of the respondents would click on a link or reply to a message that offered a financial opportunity. 
  • Action Required: Some respondents said they would respond to action-required phrases though respondents are most suspicious of requests to reset their password. 

Spot The Signs: Education and Awareness to Catch Scams in Action

Consumers can better protect themselves by taking a few extra moments before clicking, including understanding the language scammers use. 

Among simple but effective best practices: 

  • Keep personal account information to yourself.
  • Don’t click on links before verifying that they’ll take you where they say they will.
  • Regularly check 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.

Visit Visa’s Stay Secure Page for more insights from the 2023 Study, and to learn about the language of fraud and how to avoid being a victim of widespread scams. 

About Visa’s Commitment to Protecting Payments and Commerce Ecosystem 

While cybercrime persists in an increasingly digital world, Visa is tirelessly working behind the scenes to stay one step ahead. Worldwide, we have invested over $10 billion over the past five years in technology, including to reduce fraud and enhance network security. This has included $500 million on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data infrastructure, enabling us to power 100 different capabilities that use AI to protect our clients and customers. More than a thousand dedicated specialists protect Visa’s network from malware, zero-day attacks and insider threats 24x7x365. In fact, over the last year alone, Visa proactively prevented $27.1 billion in potential fraud.