Microsoft has recently released its 2018 global tech support scam research paper which examines the incidence and consequences of tech support scams worldwide.
The web-based survey consulted over sixteen thousand adult internet users across sixteen countries around the world. The types of tech support scam included:
Email, where an unsolicited email that appears to be from a reputable company claims your computer is infected with a virus.
Pop-up, a pop-up window or advertisement online that appears to be from a reputable company which claims your computer is infected with a virus.
Phone, an unsolicited telephone call from an individual claiming to be from a reputable company and insisting that your computer has an infection.
Redirect, where the user has been redirected to a website that appears to be of a reputable company claiming that the computer is infected.
Despite the fact that tech support scams are still an issue, the good news is that they are reducing; and more importantly, the number of those affected by the scams are down too.
The percentage of people who reported experiencing a tech support scam was 63%, down from 68% as reported in 2016. The number of pop-ups and ads has also fallen to 44%, down from 49% in 2016. Those people who lost money as a result of a tech support scam fell from 9% in 2016 to just 6% in 2018, with a drop in five percent of those who completely ignored the scam and avoided it altogether with no interaction between themselves and the scammers.
There’s also an increase in those who know that a company won’t initiate unsolicited contact, and believe that these reputable companies are unable to detect if an individual has indeed got a virus or other malware on their system.
Overall, globally, the number of those who continued to lose money or personal data due to a tech support scam has fallen dramatically. India and the U.S. were the worse examples of lose of money in 2016, at 22% and 21% respectively. Those numbers are now 14% and 6%, however, the UK has increased slightly from 2% in 2016 to 6% in 2018.
No More Tech Support Scams, Please
The global trend overall is a marked reduction in tech support scams. Chiefly, this is due to individuals’ improved knowledge of how these scams work, either through word of mouth, by being involved in a scam at some point in their lives, or through learning about the scams via the media. Other points that have helped reduce the numbers are improved security in the operating systems and browsers, as well as better user control in some social media platforms.
The trick to avoiding any tech support scam is to question everything. Remember, a company, such as Microsoft, isn’t going to ring you up and tell you there’s a virus on your system, or that there’s a problem with it.
Don’t ever give any personal details away, such as your name, address, and certainly not your bank accounts or passwords.
Be vigilant, and don’t believe a word the other person is saying. If you’re unsure, then contact a reputable local IT support company, and ask them for advice or to check your system.
If you want more information about how to stay safe, and how to recognise the different means by which you can be scammed, then our Protect Your PC book will be the perfect companion.
Within, you’ll find information on how to avoid being scammed, protect you and your family’s online presence, and stop viruses and malware. There’s also a section on how best to protect your children and young adults online and in social media. Buy it now, at https://bdmpublications.com/buy/windows-10/protect-your-pc-vol-34.