A million UAE consumers fell for online scams last year: report

2017 Norton Cyber Security Insights Report reveals UAE consumers lost more than AED 321 million to cyber criminals

Tags: Cyber crimeE-commerceNorton by Symantec (ae.norton.com/)United Arab Emirates
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A million UAE consumers fell for online scams last year: report Consumers may not always be able to easily spot dubious websites and offers.
By  David Ndichu Published  May 9, 2018

More than one million UAE consumers were victims of online shopping scams alone in 2017, losing a total of AED 321 million, according to the 2017 Norton Cyber Security Insights Report, released by Norton by Symantec.

Last year, nearly one-third of cybercrime victims in the UAE fell for such scams, losing an average of 47.2 hours to resolve the issue.  Furthermore, amongst those who have ever experienced a type of cybercrime, more than one in four (22%) had their financial details compromised as a result of shopping online, 28% experience credit or debit card fraud and 43% were notified their personal or financial information was compromised in a data breach last year.

E-commerce in the UAE is projected to be worth $10 billion by 2018, according to Frost and Sullivan. It is a popular, fast, simple, and sometimes more affordable alternative for buying goods; in fact, nine out of 10 UAE consumers shop on-the-go on from their mobile devices according to Norton’s research. This is despite the fact that 71% of the respondents in the country feel shopping from a mobile device is risky.

“The UAE has one of the highest internet and mobile penetration rates in the world, fueling the growth of the e-commerce industry. There are a number of perks for consumers, from booking dinner reservations and buying concert tickets to finding the perfect gifts online. But along with the perks, numerous threats lurk online. From e-commerce and online auction fraud, fake websites to bogus ticket offers, consumers may not always be able to easily spot dubious websites and offers. By following a few easy steps, however consumers can avoid falling victim to such scams,” said Tamim Taufiq, head of Norton Middle East.

In addition, UAE consumers have reported the following financial losses in the past year:

- Payment information stolen from their phone– AED 359

-Credit/Debit card fraud – AED 3859

- Financial information compromised due to shopping online – AED 381

UAE consumers lost more than two working days (18 hours) on average in dealing with credit or debit card fraud, while an average of one working day (eight hours) was lost trying to resolve or recover from an incident wherein their payment information was stolen from the phone. Consumers also spent an average of 22.4 hours (or nearly one working week) dealing with the consequences of financial information that was compromised while shopping online.

In the UAE, millennials were the most affected by cybercrimes related to online shopping. While millennials are known for being a “digital-first” generation and rather tech savvy, they also make similar mistakes such as using the same password across accounts and sharing their password with others.  One in five millennials also admit to not having any protective measures in place for at least one of their devices.

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