According to a report by Serianu, a Kenya based cybersecurity IT firm, cybercrime is estimated to have cost Africa $4.12 billion. During the course of the last decade, cybercrime posed a major threat to the finances of both individuals and businesses while hurting the economy. Some of the key cybercrime incidents witnessed include SIM swap, unauthorized intrusions into IT systems commonly known as hacking, insider threat and identity theft.

In sub-Saharan Africa alone, billions of dollars have been lost to cybercrimes. A report reveals that cybercrimes cost African economies about  $3.5 billion as of 2017. In that year, annual losses to cybercrimes were estimated for Nigeria at $649 million, and Kenya at $210 million. Also, South Africa reportedly loses $157 million to cyberattacks every year.

Most countries across the continent have weak cybersecurity systems and this increases vulnerability. Other factors responsible include the scarcity of skilled personnel and a lack of awareness and strict regulations. It was found that more than 90 percent of African businesses were operating below the cybersecurity “poverty line”—meaning they couldn’t adequately protect themselves. Only 10 percent of people in the sub-Saharan region have been found to be cyber secured. 

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation has the highest cases of cybercrime with most of these unfortunate incidents perpetuated online. However, as the government is working to beef up its cybersecurity, below are a few warning signs to look out for. These include:

  • Unsolicited messages to share one’s bank information.
  • Calls or text messages from fake bank representatives to send information from one’s card with claims that one’s bank account or Debit/ Credit card has been deactivated.
  • Request to use one’s bank details to transfer funds from one foreign account to another.
  • Offers of free airtime or data bundles on social media that requires a link’s click to a malicious site.
  • Fake customer care lines on social media.

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