24% of South Africans say they have fallen for online scams

YouGov has released the results of a new study which shows how South Africans are not doing enough to safeguard themselves online.

Commissioned by Google and conducted amongst 1,005 internet users in the country, the study was undertaken between 27 December 2018 – 10 January 2019.

It shows that 53% of respondents have received phishing emails from people imitating legitimate sources in order to fraudulently gain access to their personal information, including passwords and bank details.

Another 24% of South African internet users admit to having fallen victim to online scams in which they ended up making upfront payment for a product or service that did not exist.

Other major findings from the report include:

  • More than a quarter (28%) of respondents have had someone gain unauthorised access to their social media and/or email accounts;
  • 65% of South Africans are concerned about protecting their financial information (like banking details) online;
  • 43% of South Africans use the same password for most or all of their online services;
  • Only 34% of South Africans use 2-step verification for all their online accounts;
  • A total of 11% of South Africans have no recovery phone number or email address for their online accounts;
  • 21% of South Africans update their online passwords less frequently than once every 6 months;
  • 26% of South Africans never use tools like Google Security Check-Up to review their security settings.

“This research shows that South Africans are well aware of the dangers that present themselves online, yet so few are proactively using tools available to protect them from online predators,” said Fortune Mgwili-Sibanda who heads up Public Policy and Government Relations at Google South Africa.

“This Safer Internet Day, we want to encourage South Africans to take their online safety more seriously and educate themselves on the tools available out there,” he said.


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24% of South Africans say they have fallen for online scams