New Delhi: About 56% Indians were victims of discount scams, while 28.6% lost ₹15,000-20,000 as a result of fake online retail sites, according to a new survey released on Tuesday by cyber security company McAfee.
The survey titled ‘A Christmas Carol: Scam Edition’, highlights how year-end festivities and online sales present a variety of threats to Indian consumers, with more than half (53.6%) falling prey to scams which were a result of clicking on links that directed them to sketchy websites.
While cyber criminal activity continues to grow in sophistication, popular scams like email phishing (25.3%) and text phishing (21.1%) still result in close to a quarter of Indians being duped throughout the season.
In fact, 35.4% of Indians confess to have been conned by discount scams, where a malicious file was downloaded onto their device. Throughout the festivities, 60.2% fell victim to robocalling, and 57.1% through sim-jacking. Considering that family vacations and travel is high on the agenda for many Indians, the survey revealed a whopping 78.6% of Indians were hit seasonal travel scams.
A new trend that hit unsavvy consumers hard this festive season was phony gift cards. A total 39.3% Indians were directed to a site, were they were asked to input personal information such as name, telephone number or credit card information, with 40% losing ₹10,000-15,000.
Leveraging the emotional aspects of philanthropy and generosity, 60.7% were victims of fake charities, with scammers impersonating genuine trusts to ask for donations.
The survey also revealed that 52.6% of millennials (between the age of 18 to 24 years) faced the brunt of romance scams, and 60% in the same age group agree to being scammed by e-greetings.
According to Venkat Krishnapur, vice-president of engineering and managing director, McAfee India, “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."