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Microsoft says a massive 69% of UK PC users have been at the receiving end of tech support scams, either via unsolicited phone calls, emails, pop-ups or redirects, and 1 in 10 have been fooled into continuing with the interactions, with 2% actually losing money.
Their research also found it was not the elderly which were more likely to be victims, but in fact the younger 18-34 group, due to their greater reliance on technology.
Brits actually did better than many other countries. In India, 80% of people had come into contact with a tech scam, with 22% of those losing money. The US was almost as bad, with 79% of people reporting they had come across a scam, and 21% of them saying they were out of pocket as a result.
Most of the scams were of the tech support variety (2/3) with emails, pop-ups and redirects now the most common vector for the scam.
Microsoft advises users to never give anyone control of their PC before they verify their identity, and should retain the contact information of potential scammers to pass on to the police and not purchase unsolicited items.
“Any communication we have with you must be initiated by you,” Microsoft adds. “Tech support should not be contacting you first – ever.”
Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit investigates fraud and tech support scams targeting unsuspecting customers, and supports law enforcement and government consumer protection agencies that take legal action against known scammers. For more information on how to protect yourself visit Microsoft’s advice site here.