More than 1 million UAE consumers were victims of online shopping scams in 2017, losing a total of AED321 million ($87.3 million), according to a new report.
The 2017 Norton Cyber Security Insights Report, released by Norton by Symantec, has been released as e-commerce rises in popularity in the Gulf.
It said consumers in the UAE face a variety of risks including online shopping scams, credit and debit card fraud and breach of their payment information.
The report added that 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.
More than one in four (22 percent) had their financial details compromised as a result of shopping online, 28 percent experienced credit or debit card fraud and 43 percent were notified their personal or financial information was compromised in a data breach last year.
E-commerce in the UAE is expected to be valued at $10 billion in 2018, according to Frost and Sullivan, with nine out of 10 UAE consumers shopping their mobile devices, according to Norton’s research. This is despite the fact that 71 percent of the respondents in the country feel shopping from a mobile device is risky.
Tamim Taufiq, head of Norton Middle East, said: “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,” he added.
The report said 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.
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