- Security TWENTY
- Women in Security
Tech support scams are nothing new, but the methods cybercriminals are using and the individuals most likely to fall victim to them have drastically changed, which means they’re reaching an even greater number of people, says Microsoft. According to a new global survey released by the IT firm as part of Cybersecurity Awareness Month (in the United States), two-thirds of people have experienced a tech support scam, with one out of five being tricked into continued engagement with scammers, often leading to victims losing hundreds of dollars to the fraudsters.
This is due Microsoft says primarily to the evolution of the methods scammers are using to trick people. Traditionally, scammers made unsolicited phone calls to potential victims, but they are increasingly moving online, using emails, websites and pop-up windows to scare people into engaging. These new tactics mean the scammers are not only reaching a larger portion of the population, they’re also reaching new sub-groups of consumers. Adults older than 55 are no longer the most vulnerable; it’s Millennials, or those between the ages of 18 and 34. Microsoft found Millennials are outpacing other age ranges in large part because of their inherent trust in, and use of, technology. Because Millennials are generally less suspicious of technology intrusions, they are more likely to accept and engage in the scam, not realizing their mistake until it’s too late and the cybercriminals have access to their devices and personal information. Of those surveyed:
69 per cent of people in the UK have experienced a tech support scam.
10pc of people in the UK continued with the scam.
And 2pc of people in the UK continued with the scam and lost money.
While these scams are not going away, you can educate yourself, the IT company says. If you receive a notification or call from someone claiming to be from a reputable software company, keep in mind:
Do not purchase any software or services.
Ask if there is a fee or subscription associated with the “service.” If there is, hang up.
Never give control of your computer to a third party unless you can confirm that it is a legitimate representative of a computer support team with whom you are already a customer.
Take the person’s information down and immediately report it to your local authorities.
Microsoft points out it will never proactively reach out to you to provide unsolicited PC or technical support; any communication must be initiated by you.