With the festive period being one of the most popular for shopping in the UAE, residents are being advised to look out for internet scams this month.
According to the recently released Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report, over two million UAE residents fell victim to cybercrime over the past 12 months, 20% of which had their personal information stolen after shopping online. Worryingly, more than half of all UAE consumers also reported that their account passwords had been compromised at some point this year.
Norton told media there are a number of common scams that people fall victim to during the holiday season, including fake websites that are often almost identical to that of legitimate online retailers. Users who click to be directed to these sites from their email are are then infected with malware. This malware can gain access to private computer systems or information.
So-called offer alerts that offer massive discounts on products are also popular. These make users click on a link to avail a non-existent offer.
Another example is the ‘click and receive’ scam where users receive an email informing them they’ve received an unexpected package from a seller or a courier company. In order to claim their package, they are asked to fill out a form that includes personal information.
In an interview with Khaleej Times, Tamim Taufiq, Norton’s Territory Manager for the Middle East said that there are simple steps that users can take to avoid falling victim to such online scams.
“When it comes to protecting yourself against cyber crime, knowledge is power,” he said. “There are a number of ways consumers can protect themselves including using unique and strong passwords across different accounts, not clicking on links from purported companies or financial institutions and instead logging onto to the company website directly, and being wary of too-good-to-be-true offers.
“By doing so, you put yourself one step ahead of criminals looking to exploit you.”