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Online Sense is ICDL Arabia's philanthropic arm aimed at raising public awareness on Cyber Safety.

As people in the UAE warm up to the idea of online shopping like never before, they are also attracting the unwanted attention of scammers. In case you are one among those online deal hunters, you are among 1 million online consumers in the region, who are vulnerable to the trickery of scammers. A report by reputed online security company Norton recently revealed how big the problem currently is.

The report published in 2017 that online shoppers in the UAE lost more than 321 million AED, with one out of four victims losing their sensitive financial details.

Who is the most affected among these shoppers? The report also stated that ‘digital first’ millennials in the UAE are the most affected by cybercrimes related to online shopping, as they usually make mistakes such as using the same password across multiple accounts and sharing their passwords. 20% of the millennials responding to the Norton survey said they don’t have protective measures in place for at least one of their devices.

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This is a serious problem, especially considering that online shopping is expected to become even more commonplace in the region. This will attract much larger numbers of shoppers who could be vulnerable to scams. e-Commerce in the region is expected to touch the $10 billion (Dh37bn) by 2018 (According to Frost and Sullivan).

The research conducted by Norton revealed that 90 percent of shoppers in the UAE purchase stuff online, despite 71 percent of the people surveyed in the research confessing that online shopping could be risky.

“The UAE has one of the highest internet and mobile penetration rates in the world, fueling the growth of the e-commerce industry,” said Tamim Taufiq, head of Norton Middle East.

“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.”