Online scams have been a cause of concern for many this year with scammers now using artificial intelligence (AI) for making sophisticated cyberthreats.
A new global study, released earlier this week by cybersecurity company McAfee, warns people to be more careful while shopping during the ongoing festive season, specifically, if they come across unusually good deals, which most often can be scams.
The Global Festive Shopping Scams Study revealed that 44% of Indians planned to shop more online this festive season as compared to previous years. The study, based on inputs from 7,000 consumers from seven countries including India, revealed that 54% of Indian consumers are victims of ‘too good to be true’ scams during this festive season.
One of the concerns that the study raised was that 84% of Indians have the same level of trust between online and in-person shopping. So, if they come across a great online deal, 43% of Indians would jump on it. More than 20% said they would provide their credit card details to unknown sellers. These scams have led to 65% of consumers losing money, with the majority of them losing up to ₹40,000.
“With the speed and sophistication of scams increasing rapidly due to AI, and Indian consumers busier than ever, knowledge is the first line of data protection defense. Cybercriminals are taking advantage of the rush for deals, and the hustle and bustle of life, and using AI to create fake sites, phishing emails, and tricky text messages, hoping you'll take the bait and click on something unsafe,” Roma Majumder, SVP of product, McAfee, said in a press release.
The study also investigated consumer online shopping behaviour patterns. It revealed that Indians don’t have a particular time for shopping but do it according to their convenience, which could be any time of the day. For instance, 59% of Indians said they made purchases in bed late at night (when they ideally should have been asleep), 28% during dinner, 37% while at work and 10% while on the toilet. Most of them (81%) used smartphones to shop, followed by laptops or computers (44%) and tablets (21%).
While the concerns about online scams are rising with AI entering the space, the study also shows that almost half of online shoppers conduct their own research before buying something. Shoppers are also aware of how cybercriminals are using AI and 95% of them believe this will impact the amount and types of online scams by making them more convincing. Understandably, 75% of Indian consumers aim to be cautious when shopping online, the study said.
According to the McAfee release, one of the simplest ways to protect yourself from such scams is to stay alert. If you come across ‘too good to be true’ deals, it’s better to ignore them and not click on stray links. Shoppers can also block dangerous links and use scam protection technology to beat AI with AI.