About 56.1 per cent Indians fall victim to discount scams: McAfee

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on December 10, 2019 Published on December 10, 2019

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60.7 per cent were victims of fake charities, with scammers impersonating genuine trusts to ask for donations, the study says

With online Christmas shopping on the rise, about 56.1 per cent Indians have fallen victim to discount scams, by clicking on links that took them to a sketchy website, according to a study by McAfee.

In its survey, ‘A Christmas Carol: Scam Edition’, which highlights how the year end festivities present a variety of threats, McAfee said that Indians are falling victim to scams resulting from deceiving apps.

While cybercriminal activity continues to grow in sophistication, popular scams like email phishing (25.3 per cent) and text phishing (21.1 per cent) still result in close to a quarter of Indians being duped throughout the season, it said in a statement.

As the number of tech savvy generation of online shoppers continue to surge, 35.4 per cent of Indians confess to have been conned by discount scams, where a malicious file was downloaded onto their device. Throughout the festivities, 60.2 per cent have fallen victim to robo-calling, and 57.1 per cent through SIM jacking.

Considering that family vacations and travel is high on the agenda for many Indians, the survey revealed a whopping 78.6 per cent of Indians to have been impacted by seasonal travel scams.

A new trend that hit unsavvy consumers hard this festive season was through phony gift cards. A total 39.3 per cent Indians were directed to a website, where they were asked to enter personal information such as name, telephone number or credit card information, with 40 per cent losing between Rs 10,000 and Rs 15,000.

Leveraging the emotional aspects of philanthropy and generosity, 60.7 per cent were victims of fake charities, with scammers impersonating genuine trusts to ask for donations, the study said.

Millennials need not fear missing out on the party, as the survey revealed a staggering number (52.6 per cent) between the age of 18 and 24 years, faced the brunt of romance scams, and 60 per cent in the same age group agree to being scammed by e-greetings.

Venkat Krishnapur, Vice-President of Engineering and Managing Director, McAfee India said: “Consumers choose to beat the holiday rush by purchasing and booking online, but as transactions surge, so do the cyber-attacks. With the sheer volume of people shopping online, they tend to get careless, carried away with discounts and open themselves to phishing attacks, frauds, malicious websites, and viruses that aim to steal money and personal information”.

Highlights of the study

  • 28.6 per cent of Indians have lost about Rs 15,000-20,000 to fake online retail sites
  • 78.6 per cent experienced seasonal travel scams through unsolicited and malicious links
  •  53.6 per cent Indians fell victim to deceiving apps
  • Indians fell victim to email (25.3 per cent), text phishing (21.1 per cent) scams
  • 43  per cent of Indians are concerned about being scammed through fake charities
Published on December 10, 2019
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