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Millennials, Gen Z most likely to lose money to tech support scams: Detailed report

It’s no news that scams are prevalent in the world of tech and Microsoft’s latest ‘2018 Global Tech Support Scam Research report’ is a testament to the fact.

According to Microsoft’s survey that was conducted across 16 countries, people are increasingly getting aware of these scams are compared to their 2016 survey, a lower number of computer users are now susceptible to tech scams.

However, the report also says that people are still losing money as 60 percent of consumers have been exposed to tech support scam in the last 12 months alone.

Out of these 60 percent, 20 percent are tricked into continued engagement with their scammers — leading to a loss of an increased amount of money.

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According to Microsoft’s survey, millennials, gen-Z and males face the highest exposure to tech support scams and out of these, the millennials and gen-z are most likely to lose money — the same trend that was seen in the 2016 survey.

“A tech support scam is a phone call, email or online interaction which appears to be from a reputable company, claiming that your computer is infected with a  virus,” according to Microsoft.

Major findings of the Microsoft survey

Millennials, Gen Z most likely to lose money to tech support scams: Survey
2018 Global Tech Support Scam Research report
  • When compared to 2016, consumers have reduced their exposure and losses from tech support scams.
  • Consumers have increasingly been more aware and suspicious about potential tech support scams and prefer to search online to resolve an issue to read about a potential scam.
  • Scammers mostly request consumers to download a software or visit a specific website.
  • Gen Z, Millennials and males are the most vulnerable groups to a tech support scam and are most likely to lose money following an interaction with the scammer. This also holds true as are more likely to they engage in risky behaviour such as visiting and downloading stuff from torrent websites.
  • If faced with unsolicited contact from a reputable tech company, 38 percent of consumers would try to block that company from making contact in the future and 33 percent would look up the issue online. Forty-six percent of consumers rely on search engines to research tech support scams and 31 percent use company websites.

“Scammers have adapted to changing technology by using more sophisticated tactics to target users online via phishing emails, phoney 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.”

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How vulnerable are the 16 countries surveyed?

Here we present a country-wise breakdown of how many people were scammed and lost money, how many avoided those scams, the major channels that the scammers used and the increase or decrease in the rate of successful scams.

Millennials, Gen Z most likely to lose money to tech support scams: Survey
2018 Global Tech Support Scam Research report

Note: scams include unsolicited calls or emails, redirect to a website, pop-up ad or window. Comparison in increase or decrease have been made with a similar survey report Microsoft published in 2016.

  • India: 68% of those surveyed faced a tech scam and out of that 14% lost money, while 32% avoided the scam completely. In India, the most common way people were scammed were through a pop-up ad or window, followed by redirect to a website and unsolicited emails. There was a decrease in the number of people scammed, fewer people lost money and more avoided the scam completely.
  • China: 43% of those surveyed faced a tech scam and out of that 9% lost money, while 57% avoided the scam completely. In China, the most common way people were scammed were through a pop-up ad or window, followed by unsolicited email. There was a decrease in the number of people scammed, fewer people lost money and more avoided the scam completely.
  • Australia: 69% of those surveyed faced a tech scam and out of that 6% lost money, while 31% avoided the scam completely. In Australia, the most common way people were scammed were through unsolicited calls followed by unsolicited emails and redirects to a website. There was a decrease in the number of people scammed, increase in the number of people who lost money and but more avoided the scam completely.
  • Brazil: 66% of those surveyed faced a tech scam and out of that 5 % lost money, while 34% avoided the scam completely. In Brazil, the most common way people were scammed were through a pop-up ad or window, followed by redirect to a website. There was a decrease in the number of people scammed, fewer people lost money and more avoided the scam completely.
  • Canada: 67% of those surveyed faced a tech scam and out of that 3% lost money, while 33% avoided the scam completely. In Canada, the most common way people were scammed were through a pop-up ad or window, followed by redirect to a website and unsolicited emails. There was a decrease in the number of people scammed, fewer people lost money and more avoided the scam completely.
  • Denmark: 68% of those surveyed faced a tech scam and out of that 7% lost money, while 32% avoided the scam completely. In Denmark, the most common way people were scammed were through a pop-up ad or window, followed by unsolicited emails and calls. There was an increase in the number of people scammed, more people lost money and fewer avoided the scam completely.
  • France: 59% of those surveyed faced a tech scam and out of that 4% lost money, while 41% avoided the scam completely. In France, the most common way people were scammed were through a pop-up ad or window, followed by redirect to a website and unsolicited emails. There was an increase in the number of people scammed, more people lost money and fewer avoided the scam completely.
  • Germany: 52% of those surveyed faced a tech scam and out of that 4% lost money, while 48% avoided the scam completely. In Germany, the most common way people were scammed were through a pop-up ad or window, followed by unsolicited emails and redirect to a website. There was an increase in the number of people scammed, more people lost money and fewer avoided the scam completely.
  • Japan: 63% of those surveyed faced a tech scam and out of that 2% lost money, while 65% avoided the scam completely. In Japan, the most common way people were scammed were through a pop-up ad or window, followed by redirect to a website and unsolicited emails. There was a decrease in the number of people scammed, fewer people lost money and more avoided the scam completely.
  • Mexico: 73% of those surveyed faced a tech scam and out of that 8% lost money, while 27% avoided the scam completely. In Mexico, the most common way people were scammed were through a pop-up ad or window, followed by unsolicited emails and redirect to a website. There was an increase in the number of people scammed, more people lost money and fewer avoided the scam completely.
  • New Zealand: 78% of those surveyed faced a tech scam and out of that 6% lost money, while 22% avoided the scam completely. In New Zealand, the most common way people were scammed were through unsolicited calls followe by pop-up ad or window and unsolicited emails. There was an increase in the number of people scammed, more people lost money and fewer avoided the scam completely — accounting for the least number of people avoiding a scam worldwide.
  • Singapore: 57% of those surveyed faced a tech scam and out of that 4% lost money, while 43% avoided the scam completely. In Singapore, the most common way people were scammed were through a pop-up ad or window, followed by redirect to a website and unsolicited emails. There was a decrease in the number of people scammed, fewer people lost money and more avoided the scam completely.
  • South Africa: 70% of those surveyed faced a tech scam and out of that 4% lost money, while 29% avoided the scam completely. In South Africa, the most common way people were scammed were through a pop-up ad or window, followed by redirect to a website and unsolicited emails. There was a decrease in the number of people scammed, fewer people lost money and more avoided the scam completely.
  • Switzerland: 59% of those surveyed faced a tech scam and out of that 9% lost money, while 41% avoided the scam completely. In Switzerland, the most common way people were scammed were through a pop-up ad or window, followed by unsolicited emails and redirect to a website. There was a decrease in the number of people scammed, but more people lost money and more also avoided the scam completely.
  • United Kingdom: 62% of those surveyed faced a tech scam and out of that 6% lost money, while 38% avoided the scam completely. In United Kingdom, the most common way people were scammed were through a pop-up ad or window, followed by unsolicited emails and redirect to a website. There was a decrease in the number of people scammed, but more people lost money and more also avoided the scam completely.
  • United States: 67% of those surveyed faced a tech scam and out of that 6% lost money, while 33% avoided the scam completely. In United States, the most common way people were scammed were through a pop-up ad or window, followed by redirect to a website and unsolicited emails. There was a decrease in the number of people scammed, fewer people lost money and more avoided the scam completely.

You can read the entire 2018 Global Tech Support Scam Research by Microsoft here.

Also read: 3 ways to protect your password from hackers

Millennials, Gen Z most likely to lose money to tech support scams: Survey
2018 Global Tech Support Scam Research report

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