A Microsoft funded report reveals that it is actually the millennial generation that are hit hardest by tech support scams, as opposed to older generations.
Tech support scams are rife on the Internet. They are usually started when the victim is either presented with a pop-up warning of a virus with instructions to call a phone number to resolve the issue, or when the victim is cold-called by someone claiming to be a technical support engineer, warning of a virus.
In either case, it’s a scam and there is probably nothing wrong with the victim’s computer. What is really happening is that the crook is attempting to trick a panicked victim into allowing the crook remote access to their computer, where, unbeknownst to the victim, the crook will attempt to install malware.
After that, the crooks will demand money to remove the malware they installed. Or they’ll use the malware to gain unauthorised access to the device to try and steal sensitive information which can be used to commit identity fraud. Or both.
While tech support scams have been around for a number of years, they’re still extremely successful.
And a Microsoft study reveals that it is actually 25-34 year olds that are most likely to fall for this type of scam and lose money, with 18% of respondents reporting that they had lost money as a result of these scams, compared to only 3% from the 55-65 and 66+ demographics.
These results may conflict with existing preconceptions of online victims of fraud, with many assuming that it is older generations who would be more susceptible to such scams as opposed to the (generally considered) more tech-savvy millennial generation.
The same study also revealed the Internet users from both India and the US were most likely to fall for such scams (22% and 21% respectively who reported losing money) while UK users were least likely to fall for such scams (only 2% reporting losing money.)
If you do get an unexpected phone call from someone claiming to be a technical support engineer wanting to fix your computer, hang up the phone. If you get a suspicious pop-up telling you that you’re device is infected with a virus, close your Internet browser. If your screen has frozen or you cannot close the window, switch off your device (or on Windows computers use the Task Manager to remove the offending window.) And don’t click inside the window!
For more information on tech support scams that initiate through pop-ups, read our article here, and this article covers tech support scams initiated over the phone.