Microsoft Releases Findings from Global Survey on Tech Support Scams

October 17, 2016

New Data Reveals Changing Nature of Tech Support Scams and the Most Vulnerable Groups

Courtney Gregoire, Senior Attorney, Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit

(Redmond, WA, Monday, October 17, 2016) – As part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, Microsoft has released the results of a new global survey which reveals 2 out of 3 people have experienced a tech support scam in the last 12 months.

The global study, which Microsoft commissioned across 12 different countries and regions, details the changing tactics of cybercriminals, as well as the changing target demographics for tech support scams. Notably, Millennials, rather than aging adults, were found to be the most vulnerable group to tech support scams.

Key findings from the report include:

  • 1 in 5 consumers surveyed continued with a potential fraudulent interaction, which could mean they downloaded software, visited a scam website, gave the fraudsters remote access to their device, or provided credit card information or other form of payment.
  • Nearly 1 in 10 have lost money to a tech support scam.
  • Of those who continued with a fraudulent interaction, 17% of them were older than 55, while 34% were between the ages of 36 and 54.
  • Surprisingly, 50% of those who continued were millennials, between the ages of 18 and 34.
  • Consumers in India (54%), China (35%), and United States (33%) had a greater likelihood of continuing with the fraudulent interaction.

Since 2014, Microsoft has supported law enforcement officials across the United States to take legal action against cybercriminals perpetrating scams responsible for $165 million in consumer losses.

It’s important to note that neither Microsoft nor their partners make unsolicited phone calls to charge people for computer security or software fixes. Here are a few tips to keep in mind if someone claiming to be from a reputable software company calls:

  • Do not purchase any software or services.
  • Ask if there is a fee or subscription associated with the “service.” If there is, hang up.
  • Never give control of your computer to a third party unless you can confirm that it is a legitimate representative of a computer support team with whom you are already a customer.
  • Take the caller’s information down and immediately report it to your local authorities.

Visit the National Cyber Security Alliance blog for more information about Microsoft’s survey on tech support scams.

For more information on what consumers can do to identify, avoid, and report a tech support scam, visit the Microsoft Safety & Security Center

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