Indians turn smarter at avoiding tech support scams
Thursday 18 October 2018 3:20 AM UTC
Mumbai Oct 18: Indian consumers have become smarter at avoiding technology support scams, with a survey revealing that just 68 per cent of them were affected by these frauds this year, compared with 80 per cent in 2016.
Heightened skepticism and distrust about potential scams contributed to these better outcomes, according to the ‘tech support scam survey 2018’ released Monday by Microsoft’s digital crimes unit.
Millennials and males had the highest exposure to tech support scams, the web based survey, which is an update to the version released in 2016, said.
“They were more likely to lose money, engaged in riskier online behaviour such as visiting torrent sites, have a greater familiarity with technology companies than older generations and were potentially hurt by overconfidence in their device and web expertise,” it noted.
The survey was conducted among 16,048 adult Internet users in 16 countries (1,000 per country), equally divided between males and females. The 2016 survey was conducted in 12 countries.
Tech support scams are a problem worldwide, with three out of five people globally having experienced one in the past year, and one in five losing money to fraudsters, it said.
These sophisticated scams, according to the survey, are evolving from cold calls to fake online pop-up ads and fraudulent websites, and affect everyone, including savvy online users like millennials.
Additionally, the cost of these scams goes beyond monetary loss, with people reporting higher stress levels after dealing with this type of fraud, it said.
Overall, the survey showed that the numbers seemed to be lower in India this year, compared with 2016.
Around 40 per cent of people in India continued with the scam this year, against 54 per cent in 2016; 28 per cent ignored the scam, compared with 26 per cent in 2016; while 14 per cent continued with the scam and lost money, against 22 per cent in 2016, it said.
Around 84 per cent of people experienced severe to moderate stress levels after experiencing a scam, it added.
Further, the survey noted 68 per cent of consumers believed that it is highly unlikely that a reputable company would initiate unsolicited contact, and 60 per cent would distrust that type of communication.
Nearly three-quarters of consumers who experienced scams lost trust in software and technology companies’ ability to protect them from tech support scams, it said.