(Redmond, WA, Monday, October 15, 2018) – If you haven’t experienced a tech support scam, chances are you likely know someone who has. Today, Microsoft released new survey findings focused on the impact of tech support scams, which found that 3 out of 5 consumers have encountered this type of fraud, with 1 in 5 losing money. But there’s good news. According to the survey of 16 countries*, fewer people are susceptible to these scams than in 2016, when Microsoft released its inaugural version of this survey, and less people are being exposed to them altogether. Overall, people are also losing less money.
Just in time for National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the 2018 research revealed consumers have developed a healthy skepticism about unsolicited contact from technology and software companies. They’ve become savvy to flagging such contact as a potential scam.
This doesn’t mean the danger is any less. People are still losing money and time – in turn, causing a lot of stress, with 76% of those who continued with a scam reporting suffering from moderate to severe stress due to the fraudulent interaction.
Other notable global findings from the survey include:
- Millennials (24-37) and Gen Zers (18-23) have the highest exposure to tech support scams.
- 1 out of 10 Millennials, and 1 out of 10 Gen Zers, that encountered a scam, fell for it and lost money.
Scam artists have adapted to changing technology by using more sophisticated tactics to target users online via phishing emails, phony websites and pop-up windows to gain access to computers. In addition to stealing personal and financial information, scammers install malicious software and con people out of hundreds of dollars for fake tech support to fix non-existent computer problems.
Microsoft is working to help protect consumers from online scams through Windows, which includes security features and updates with free real-time protection, and the SmartScreen filter built into Microsoft Edge. And the Bing Ads team took action to block 25 million ads in the tech scam category in 2017 as part of its ad quality work.
Microsoft also fights back through advanced analytics and investigations of thousands of customer complaints annually, thanks to its Digital Crimes Unit, which identifies large players perpetrating these scams.
*Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States – countries in bold are new in 2018.