February 27, 2024

McAfee Study reveals Indian festive online shopping behavior and advises precautions on too good to be true deals

McAfee Study reveals Indian festive online shopping behavior and advises precautions on too good to be true dealsIndia 06th December, 2023: McAfee Corp., a global leader in online protection, has released the results of its inaugural Global Festive Shopping Scams Study. The study surveyed more than 7,000 adults across seven countries, including India, to gain perspective on different facets of consumer online buying behavior, including insights on the patterns, worries, and susceptibilities that they may face during a busy festive season.

It revealed that 84% of Indian consumers have the same level of trust between online and in-person shopping. This year, 44% of Indians planned to do more online shopping as compared to previous years. During the festive season, 77% of shoppers saw an uptick in cybercriminal activity and 95% of people thought that the use of artificial intelligence would impact the amount and types of scams. Additionally, 54% of Indian consumers have been the victim of an online scam during the festive season. 65% of these victims reported losing money as a result, the majority of whom lost up to INR 40K.  

The study also shed light on consumer online shopping behavior patterns; the findings reveal that Indians are shopping at their convenience, anywhere ‘round the clock. For instance, 59% of Indians admitted to making an online purchase in bed late at night when they really should be asleep. 37% have shopped during work hours, 28% during dinner, and even 10% while on the toilet.

“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,” said Roma Majumder, SVP of Product at McAfee. “With AI now a scammers favorite tool, and our findings revealing that 43% of Indians are likely to jump on a great deal as soon as they see it, you need the most advanced AI in your back pocket to safeguard your privacy, identity, and personal information. So, keep your guard up, think before you click when seeking out deals or managing your purchase deliveries, and make sure you’ve got the latest in AI and online protection to keep the cyber crooks at bay.”

The 2023 McAfee Festive Shopping Scams Study

McAfee’s research unwrapped a few key insights about online festive shopping scams, and sheds light on the heightened stress people face while shopping for loved ones and working to protect themselves from AI-assisted digital scammers. The survey results are detailed below. 

Festive shopping goes digital

People are spending more time than ever shopping online: 91% of Indians planned to shop online this festive season. Cybercrooks have caught on to the fact that we’re shopping online more and are using that knowledge to create fake parcel delivery messages, phishing sites, and other shopping-based scams that lure consumers into clicking on fake links. 77% of Indian consumers believe that cybercriminals are more prevalent during the festive season: 

  • 44% of Indians planned to do more online shopping this year as compared to previous years.
  • More than half of Indian consumers (54%) say they have been the victim of an online scam during the festive season. 
  • Of these victims, 65% said they have lost money as a result, with 81% of them losing up to INR 40K
  • 23% indicated that they will provide credit card / bank card details to unknown merchants if they’re selling something they want at a good price

People are shopping anywhere and everywhere around the clock

  • In light of inflation, while 91% of Indians stated they look for the best deal before making a purchase, 43% admitted they were likely to jump on a good deal as soon as they see it. Some consumer shopping habits are more surprising, and point to the possibility of distraction in a world of increasingly sophisticated scams:
  • 82% of Indians use their smartphone for online shopping, followed by 44% on PC/Laptop and 21% on Tablet
  • 59% of Indians admitted to having made an online purchase in bed late at night when they really should be asleep. 
  • 37% revealed they have made an online purchase while at work. 
  • 28% have made an online purchase during dinner. 
  • 10% have even made an online purchase while on the toilet. 

 The survey also provided insights into the trust and caution used by Indian consumers while shopping online:

  • 84% of consumers expressed having the same level of trust when shopping online as they do when shopping in person.
  • 45% of online shoppers conduct their own research by browsing through various online stores
  • 31% rely on recommendations from family or friends when making purchasing decisions
  • 24% of consumers’ decisions are greatly influenced by social media influencers and content creators.

Alongside this, 95% believe that the use of artificial intelligence by cybercriminals will have an impact on the amount and types of online scams, making scams more convincing and deceptive. 34% of Indians find it difficult to tell what’s a real message versus a fake one, from a retailer or delivery service. Due to which, 75% of Indian consumers aim to up their guard and stay alert against deceptive messages due to the surge in AI scams. 

How to Protect Yourself from Scam Messages 

  • Think before you click. Cybercriminals use phishing emails or fake sites to lure people into clicking links that could lead to malware. If you receive an email or text message asking you to click on a link, even if it’s a great-sounding deal or indicates it’ll provide useful information, it’s best to avoid interacting with the message altogether. Always go direct to the source and interact with reputable companies. 
  • Remember that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Many scams are effective because the scammer creates a false sense of urgency or preys on a heightened emotional state. Pause before you rush to interact with any message that is threatening or urgent, especially if it is from an unknown or unlikely sender. 
  • Use AI to beat AI. From blocking dangerous links that appear on text messages, social media, or web browsers, customers across all platforms can take advantage of the AI-driven technology behind McAfee Scam Protection to engage with text messages, read emails, and browse the web peacefully and securely. 

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