Microsoft Survey – Arabian Post

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  • Globally, three out of five consumers have experienced tech support scams in the past 12 months, down five points since 2018
  • Gen Zers and Millennials Most Likely to Continue Interactions When Targeted by Tech Support Scams
  • Indian consumers are three times more likely to proceed with scams than the rest of the world; Japanese consumers have the least chance of interaction of all countries surveyed; Australia and Singapore saw interaction rates close to the global average

SINGAPORE – Media OutReach – July 22, 2021 – Microsoft today released the findings of its Research Report Global Tech Support Scam 2021 that looks at tech support scams and their impact on consumers. The survey saw an overall decline in scam encounters: three out of five consumers (59%) were found to have been targeted by a tech support scammer in the past 12 months, down from 64% in 2018. out of six consumers (16%) were subsequently misled into proceeding with the scam, down three points from 2018.

Those surveyed were Generation Zers (aged 18-23) and Millennials (24-37 years) were found to have the most interactions when targeted for the scams – 23% for both age groups. In the Asia-Pacific (APAC) countries surveyed, the results were diverse: consumers in India were three times more likely to proceed with a scam interaction (49%) than the global average (16%), while consumers in Japan worldwide top performers, with only 5% of those surveyed interacting with a scammer. Australia (19%) and Singapore (14%) saw rates comparable to the rest of the world.

Each month, Microsoft receives approximately 6,500 complaints around the world from people who have been victims of tech support scams; this is less than 13,000 reports in an average month in previous years. To better understand how the tech support scam problem is evolving globally and to increase efforts to educate consumers about how to stay safe online, Microsoft has YouGov commissioned this worldwide research in 16 countries[1], including four APAC markets – Australia, India, Japan and Singapore. This is a follow-up to similar studies conducted by Microsoft 2018 and 2016.

Mary Jo Schrade, Assistant General Counsel, Regional Lead, Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit Asia, said: “Technical scams are perpetrated worldwide and target people of all ages. While we are seeing progress in the percentage of people who refused to contact the scammers, there is still a need to monitor and address how the attacks are evolving. The tactics used by fraudsters to victimize users online have evolved over time, from pure cold calling to more sophisticated tricks, such as fake “pop-ups” displayed on people’s computers. In the various regions of Asia-Pacific, we see that attack rates vary according to demographics and habits, but tech support scams continue to affect all countries. We are committed to online safety and hope that these research findings will help to better educate people so they can avoid falling victim to these scams.”

Less exposed to scams, but more money lost

The global decline in exposure to scams between 2018 and 2021 was largely driven by a decline in pop-up scams (-8%) and website redirects (-7%). This trend was also reflected in the region, where Japan recorded the largest drop in the APAC markets surveyed, with a 12-point drop for pop-up encounters and a 5-point drop for website scams over the same period. Australia, India and Singapore also saw a drop of four, five and one points around pop-ups and two, one and three points around website scams, respectively.

At the global level, there was a one point increase in the number of consumers who lost money during the scam interaction in 2021 (7%) compared to 2018 (6%). This trend was also seen in the APAC markets, where Japan (3%) and Singapore (5%) posted a one-point increase from 2018 to 2021; Australia (9%) recorded an increase of three points over the same period. More importantly, about a third of consumers in India (31%) who went through with such scams lost money as a result, up 17 points from 2018 (14%).

Millennials, Gen Zers and men are most likely to be victims of scams

Microsoft sees that younger people are more likely to be victims of tech support scams, especially the Generation Zers (18-23) and Millennials (24-37). Globally, one in 10 Millennials and one in 10 Generation Zers who encountered a scam fell for it and lost money. This is related to the greater involvement younger people have in riskier online activities, such as using torrent sites (16% for Gen Z; 15% for Millennials) and sharing email addresses in exchange for content (30% for Gen Z; 28% for millennials).

It was also found that men were the hardest hit and most likely to have lost money as a result of such scams. 20% of men worldwide continued with such tech support scams in 2021, resulting in half losing money. In contrast, 13% of women worldwide continued to engage in such tech support scams, with about one in three losing money in the interaction.

Computer problems the most common problem during scam interactions

Among those who continued to scam, the most common problem experienced globally during the interaction was computer problems (30%), followed by compromised passwords (23%) and fraudulent use of credit/debit cards/store cards (18%).

After a computer-related scam, 77% in Australia and 82% in India spent checking and repairing their computers, slightly more than the global average of 76% in 2021. It is critical to carry out checks as some scammers are known to install malware on computers, allowing them to maintain remote access to people’s computers long after the victims thought the interaction had ended.

What Microsoft is doing to fight scams

The Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit (DCU) is working to combat this problem by partnering with law enforcement, empowering technology and educating consumers. Microsoft has been fighting tech support scams since 2014 and over the years has supported law enforcement in taking legal action against scammers in Asia, the US and Europe.

The DCU fights tech support scams by (1) investigating tech support fraud networks and referring cases to law enforcement where appropriate, (2) strengthening Microsoft’s products and services to better protect consumers from various fraudulent tactics, and ( 3) educate consumers about this type of fraud by providing guidance and resources for identifying, avoiding and reporting it.

“Tech support scams will continue to be an industry-wide challenge until enough people are informed about these scams and can avoid them. The best way for consumers in Asia-Pacific to protect themselves is to learn that these scammers are targeting people, be suspicious of unsolicited contact from alleged employees of tech companies, and prevent people they don’t know from accessing remotely. get to their computers,” added Mary Jo.

Microsoft recommends keeping the following tips in mind when consumers receive a report or phone call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft or another reputable company:

  • Be wary of pop-up messages on your computer and do not call the number or click the link in received pop-ups.
  • Download software only from official company websites or the Microsoft Store. Be wary of downloading software from third party sites as some of them may have been modified without the company’s knowledge to bundle supporting scam malware and other threats.
  • If you believe you have been the victim of a tech support scam, please report your experience www.microsoft.com/reportascam and also file reports with law enforcement agencies, such as your local consumer protection agency.

Learn more about how consumers can protect yourself from technical support scams here.

Note for editors: For more information, news, and perspectives from Microsoft, visit the Microsoft News Center at: http://news.microsoft.com/. Web links, phone numbers, and titles were correct at the time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at: https://news.microsoft.com/microsoft-public-relations-contacts.



[1]Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Finland, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, The Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States – countries in bold are new in 2021.

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