The top three online scams in India are work from home, lottery scams and fake bank email scam, says a new multi-market survey, adding that despite the growing awareness, new online scams are being reported every day.
Releasing an "Internet Scams" study on Thursday, Norway-based Telenor Group, Telenor India's major shareholder, said that as internet accessibility in India continues to expand, so do scammers' inventive ways in infiltrating consumers' personal information.
"As Indian netizens, we know that scams exist but to see that the highest amount of money stolen via scams is in India shows this is an area we need to address. As a leader in telecommunications, Telenor India is dedicated to enhancing internet safety," said Sharad Mehrotra, CEO Telenor India, in a statement.
The "work from home" is a scam whereby users are either fooled into paying someone online to help them start a business, or users are tricked into completing work on their computer but never receive payment.
One quarter of the participants had been victim of lottery scam emails, where the user is prompted to pay a processing fee in order to win a large sum of money and a further 17 percent had been victim to fraud from scammers pretending to be their bank to acquire personal information and funds, the results showed.
"We hope that the findings from this digital consumer study will encourage all of us to take preventative measures to stay safe online," Mehrotra added. The multi-market survey assessed the impact of scams on 400 internet users aged 18- 65 plus in India Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia.
Regionally, the average financial loss per person is Rs.681,070 but alarmingly in India, the average loss was Rs.819,000. The survey revealed that 85 percent of India's internet users are familiar with the term "Internet Scam" and feel open to online threats.
"Online security is extremely relevant in India where over one third of internet users surveyed have been victim to an internet scam and a further 57 percent know a friend or family member who has been scammed online," the findings showed.
Half of internet users surveyed in India feel that responsibility to protect people online is with the government while nearly 60 percent feel the responsibility lies with the website. A jail term for scammers is the best preventative measure to avoid an increasing online threat, they added.
However, overall more than 80 percent of respondents feel it is the responsibility of each individual to ensure they're safe online. "Telenor is working closely with GSMA (a body that represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide) to launch 'Mobile Connect' to preserve online privacy, create a trusted environment and help mitigate the vulnerability of online passwords," Mehrotra informed.