New Visa Stay Secure Study on electronic payments security

Every second Serbian believes they can identify internet scams

  • More than half of the respondents from Serbia (52%) believe they are very to extremely knowledgeable and can recognize activities that indicate potential scam, with 28% of respondents claiming that they have been victims of a scam 
  • "High level of Cautiousness": Three-quarters of them (75%) approach messages about rewards, giveaways, and gift cards with caution, and the same percentage also doubts the authenticity of messages that request password changes and data updates
  • "Attention to These Details can help": Less than a quarter of survey participants pay attention to spelling and grammatical errors, which are often a clear indicator of attempted abuse

BELGRADE, September 28th 2023 – Citizens of Serbia are among the most cautious in the CEMEA region when it comes to frauds related to online shopping, shows Visa’s latest Stay Secure Study, which analyzes internet payment security. More than half of the respondents (52%) believe they are very to extremely knowledgeable and can recognize activities that indicate potential scam. Three-quarters of them (75%) approach messages about rewards, giveaways, and gift cards with caution, and the same percentage also doubts the authenticity of messages that request password changes and data updates.

These are just some of the findings from the study conducted by the reputable research agency Wakefield Research¹ for Visa company. 

“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 understand the language of fraud and act with a high level of caution”, explains Charles Lobo, Regional Risk Officer for Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa at Visa. 

Compared to all the countries in where research was conducted, the percentage of respondents who have been victims of internet scam is the lowest in our country, standing at 28%. Reflecting on the study and the indicators for Serbia, Vladimir Djordjevic, General Manager at Visa South East Europe, emphasized that the company as a global leader in digital payments has always been promoting safe and secure electronic payments for all customers.

"In addition to our efforts to provide best-in-class user experiences and cutting-edge payment solutions, we are supporting society in the fight against scams while simultaneously highlighting the dangers inherent to the digital world. Thanks to our extensive expertise and global capabilities, we are in a position to work on raising awareness about fraud activities and patterns within the wider community. This study has further assisted us in identifying potential sources of issues and areas where we need to strengthen education capacities in order to minimize instances of abuse in the future", emphasized Djordjevic.

Across all 17 markets where the study was conducted, one of the most important finding shows that users who are confident about their awareness regarding online abuses are, in fact, more susceptible to becoming victims of a scam. Furthermore, even though a high percentage of respondents (56%) claim they can spot online and phone scams, the results caution that as many as nine out of ten (90%) users will overlook signs indicating criminal activity.


  • Cautiousness in Online Payments

Among Serbian respondents, more than half (52%) consider themselves highly educated and capable of recognizing online scams. However, less than a third (28%) admitted to having been victims of such scams in the past. On the other hand, data shows that, unlike respondents from other markets, consumers from Serbia will react to messages about a 

financial opportunity, such as a good deal or a way to earn money or free gifts in a low percentage - less than a third (27% and 26%, respectively), to the same extent as messages that require specific actions from them (24%).

  • What Makes People Suspicious 

Consumers are quite suspicious when asked to rest their password or enter account information (73%). Activities related to tracking the delivery, shipment status or shipping raise suspicions in almost a third of respondents (27%) in Serbia, while marketing activities related to the promotion of new products trigger suspicion in 38% of users. A query to share their impressions or provide feedback about a product or service is viewed as a sign of caution by almost a third of survey participants (29%).

  • We Don't Pay Enough Attention to These Details

Only 15% of respondents pay attention to whether an email is personalized, while just over a fifth (21%) notice if details of their account, such as a account number, are visible. Additionally, 24% of survey participants attach importance to spelling and grammatical errors, which are often a clear indicator of attempted abuse.


Scammers try different approaches to craft messages that appear genuine and compel recipients to take immediate action. Visa Stay Secure Study identifies prevalent linguistic patterns most closely associated with scams, as well as how susceptible respondents in the surveyed markets are to becoming "easy targets".

  • Orchestrating Urgency:

Cybercriminals often feign urgency to spur people into action such as clicking a link or responding to a sender. However, consumers are particularly cautious when it comes to such tactics, with 73% of respondents considering messages about stolen passwords or data breaches as an "alarm bell." Situations that are meant to appear as notifications from government institutions or legal obligations can deceive 46% of surveyed individuals in Serbia.

  • Notifications About Financial Gain

Respondents are cautious and possess a high level of awareness when it comes to messages about financial gain. Less than a third would react to a message that begins with "free gift," "you have been selected," or "you have won." The study also revealed that users belonging to Generation Z are more likely to respond to notifications from government institutions and the police (40%) than to a message offering a chance to win giveaway (35%).


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

Simple yet effective ways that can help protect against internet abuse:

  • 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 from the corporate websites or the back of your credit and debit cards if you are unsure if a communication is valid.

The Stay Secure Study is a part of Visa’s Pay Secure information campaign, which reflects Visa’s commitment to raising consumer awareness of possible online scam scenarios, teaching consumers more informed and safe behaviors, and increasing financial literacy. The campaign's goal is to enable users to have a secure and straightforward digital payment experience.

Visit our Instagram page to learn more details about the Visa study itself and to gain insights into the language of abuse and ways to avoid it.

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.

About Visa Inc. 

Visa (NYSE: V) is a world leader in digital payments, facilitating transactions between consumers, merchants, financial institutions and government entities across more than 200 countries. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, convenient, reliable and secure payments network, enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. We believe that economies that include everyone everywhere, uplift everyone everywhere and see access as foundational to the future of money movement. Learn more at

1 Online research surveyed 5,800 adults (ages 18+) in 17 countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Egypt, Pakistan, Tunisia, Morocco, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Côte d'Ivoire, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Serbia. Conducted throughout March-April 2023.