Remittance inflows – money sent back home by Ugandans abroad – continue to provide a stable source of foreign exchange for the economy while supporting many households.
According to a report by Migration and Development Brief, Uganda was among the top ten recipient countries of remittances in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2020.
The country received US$ 1.1 billion in 2020, down from US$ 1.4 billion in 2019. An increasing number of the 2 million Ugandans living abroad are opting for digital remittance services as opposed to traditional agent-dependent models. This is also the case for recipients, who increasingly prefer digital checkout methods like mobile money and bank transfer.
The ‘State of the Industry Report on Mobile Money 2021’ by GSMA indicates that Sub-Saharan Africa has been at the forefront of the mobile money industry for over a decade, and in 2020 continued to account for the majority of growth (43% of all new accounts).
By the end of the year, there were 548 million registered accounts in the region, over 150 million of which were active on a monthly basis.
The absolute growth was highest in West and East Africa. While the convenience that digital payments bring is unparalleled, making and receiving payments online also comes with increased risk of cybercrime.
From impersonation, to unlicensed players taking advantage of users, the list of risks that users of digital payment services face is expanding by the day.
In July, for instance, the National Information Technology Authority of Uganda reported that UGSHS 15 billion (US$ 4.2 million) was lost in 2020 through cyber fraud.
Research released by Kaspersky in September 2020 also revealed that Uganda recorded 10,081,595 adware attacks and 2,567,693 malware attacks between January 2020 and August 2020.
Commenting on the finding, Ivan Kanyali, Country Manager, Uganda at WorldRemit said the company prioritizes safety when it comes to sending money abroad. “Security and safety are top priorities for our customers. We expect this trend to persist as more people opt for digital payments against the backdrop of rising cases of cybercrime, and will continue to hold ourselves to the highest global safety standards to ensure customers feel empowered whenever using WorldRemit,” he said.
Losses from cybercrime activities affecting digital transactions can be devastating. Here are four tips from WorldRemit to keep you safe when transacting through digital channels.
1. If it sounds too good to be true, avoid it
There are many reasons why people use digital payments services – receiving money from friends and relatives abroad is just one of them. Sometimes you may use a digital payments service to process payments for online work or online investments. When looking for a service to use, be wary of persons or companies that approach you purporting to save you huge transaction or foreign exchange fees as long as they handle the transaction for you. The rule is: if it’s too good to be true, avoid it.
2. Make sure you are using a licensed provider
Use only reputable and licensed payment providers. Go online to the relevant financial regulator website to determine if the payment provider is licensed. WorldRemit is a fully licensed international money transfer service that meets the requirements of global regulatory bodies.
3. Check availability of customer support and user reviews
Even if you are using a digital service that is easy to use, it is always reassuring to know that you can turn to a customer support team. WorldRemit has 24/7 customer support, meaning you can get help or questions answered at any time and anywhere around the world. The best source of information on the safety, security and general user experience of a service is other users. Visit a reputable website like TrustPilot to get users’ feedback on a service.
WorldRemit currently has a 4.1 rating on TrustPilot out of 47,820 reviews. 78 percent of users have ranked us as excellent (5 star) and 11 percent as great (four star).
4. Stay vigilant and up to date on latest trends
Be alert for scams that target consumers after the completion of a transaction. It’s not uncommon for scammers purporting to be tech support to inform you that there is something wrong with your transaction or account.
To avoid becoming a target of such scams, do not provide sensitive data such as your password, your date of birth and other personal information.
Familiarize yourself with the official communication channels of your service providers and avoid communicating through unofficial lines – it’s mostly always a scam.
Also stay updated on the latest information security trends, including ensuring you use a service with the latest encryption features and with clear disclosures about how to utilize users’ personal information.
Keeping these simple tips in mind can save you, your business, friends and loved ones from financial losses arising from online payment scams. For more details, visit: www.worldremit.com