Telenor Group, which Malaysia-based Digi is a part of, today released the results of an Internet Scams study showing that the top scams in Malaysia, India, Singapore and Thailand.
The top three scams in Malaysia are; ‘Work from Home’ fraud (30%); Internet Auction scams; (22%) and Online Dating scams (20%).
The multi-market Telenor survey assessed 400 internet users aged 18 – 65+ in Malaysia, India, Singapore and Thailand and was conducted to provide better understanding of the common online scamming methods. The results additionally gathered the best prevention methods from experienced users, in order for netizens in Malaysia to gain more insight.
In Malaysia, all of those surveyed classified themselves as Internet users, averaging nearly 10 hours per day on the web. However, online safety is a growing concern with more than half of those surveyed (54%) stating they are ‘very concerned’ with online scams—more than those equally concerned with mugging (45%) and stalking (42%).
Of the regions surveyed, Malaysia was the country most vulnerable to Internet scams, with 46% of respondents saying they had been victims to scams—followed only by Thailand at 43%. The study found that 1-in-5 people have been victims to both Internet auction scams and online dating scams, and a 1-in-10 had their Facebook hacked. A further 46% of Malaysian respondents saying they know a friend or family member who has been scammed online.
Of those who have been subject to an online scam in Malaysia, 6-in-10 have lost money, with the average financial loss per person equivalent to RM7,050 ($1700 USD). However, in comparison to other surveyed nations, the loss was much smaller than its neighboring countries. The regional average for those who incurred financial loss is equivalent to RM41,870 ($9900 USD).
Despite the figures, Malaysians continue to recognise the benefits of having the Internet readily available with 90% of Malaysian netizens agreeing that the Internet has improved their lives and 81% attribute strengthened relationships with friends and family to the net.
The largest percentage of Malaysian scam victims had fallen for the ‘Work from home’ fraud – a scam whereby users are either fooled into paying someone online to help them start a business, or undertake a work but never receive payment.
Almost a quarter had experienced Internet auction fraud, where they purchase an item online and never receive it. And finally, Malaysians were also victims of online dating scams, where a scammer creates a fake profile on an online dating site to elicit money.
While online scams are real, they are equally preventable, Telenor said. Almost three quarters of Malaysians felt that it is the individuals’ own responsibility to ensure they are safe online.
According to Telenor, below are the top five most frequently used methods in Malaysia to help prevent personal risk to online scams:
- Delete suspicious and untrustworthy emails.
- Ignore advertisements that appear “too good to be true.”
- Update your anti-malware software.
- Do online research about scams.
- Share knowledge and preventative tips with friends and family through social media.
“This survey is a good barometer on Internet scams in Malaysia, and areas that should be addressed. We hope the findings from this digital consumer study will encourage all Malaysians to be proactive in educating themselves to stay safe online, so they can enjoy the Internet’s opportunities,” says Ola Jo Tandre, Head of Social Responsibility at Telenor Group.
“Malaysia and other parts of Asia are dynamic regions with growing online populations. Alongside Telenor’s Internet for All strategy and the 2017 goal of achieving 200 million active internet users, there will be many more people online in the near future. We encourage our netizens to be aware of potential threats and to openly talk with friends and family about online welfare. In the digital world, we must not forget our real world principles, such as, ‘if something looks too good, it probably is’,” added Ola Jo.