The frequency at which scams occur has been startling to many people. Another factor that has been taken into account more often nowadays when considering the overall impact of scams is the effect on the economy.
Email scams are some of the most popular all over the world. According to Forbes, “Phishing scams cost American businesses half a billion dollars a year”.
No matter the type of scam, financial damage is highly likely, which leads to further ramifications.
For South Africa, an emerging economy, cyber attacks may lead to significant losses in the economy. The Global Economic Crime Survey found that cybercrime is the fourth most reported economic crime globally.
South Africa as a country and economic hub on the African continent is often a prime target for cyber attacks, which means that the South African economy is at risk to an extent. Research indicates that the country is often used as a testing ground for attacks on the banking sector.
If more individuals fall victim to email scams that breach the banking system, then there is more likelihood that the scam will work in countries with less stringent banking systems.
According to the South African Banking Risk Information Centre, the South African economy suffered losses in excess of R2.2 billion (for phishing attacks and internet fraud alone). This massive amount of money lost on email scams could have been used by consumers to better their lives, to start businesses which drive economic growth or it could have been used for savings or to invest.
Companies also have the responsibility of ensuring that they take all measures to protect sensitive data, or they may face fines of up to R10 million.
Ways to avoid falling victim to email scams:
- Develop an effective cybersecurity strategy
- Monitor digital assets 24/7
- Have regular vulnerability checks
- Have an effectively managed firewall