Nearly 70% people in India encountered tech support related scams in the last 12 months, which was the highest among 16 countries surveyed globally, technology company Microsoft said in a report on Thursday. The data is very close to the findings of a similar survey done by the company back in 2018. However, the company also said that the number of customers who were exposed to such scams globally has come down in comparison with 2018 data.
Findings from the survey were published in the Global Tech Support Scam Research 2021 report released by Microsoft on Thursday. YouGov, a market research firm, was commissioned by Microsoft to conduct the survey. The web-based survey was conducted between May 6 and May 17, across 16 countries in which 16,254 adult internet users were involved. The sample size from each country included internet users based on age, gender and region.
In India, tech support scams by unsolicited telephone calls witnessed the maximum increase since 2018. While it was 23% in the last survey, it grew to 31%, an increase of eight percentage points. Also, pop-up advertisements or windows, unsolicited emails, redirects to websites remained the other forms of the scam.
The report showed that in India 31% people continued to respond to the scam and also lost money. It was 14% in 2018. Moreover, 48% people were tricked into continuing with the scam while this was recorded at 40% in the 2018 survey. The global average of the respondents who continued with the scam was 16%, the 2021 report also showed.
Microsoft said that the high number of people being exposed to scams in India was likely due to customers believing that a company would initiate contact and being more trusting of such unsolicited contact. In addition to this, on average, ₹15,334 was lost by customers to the scams but 88% people who lost money were able to recover some amount back.
Globally, “three out of five consumers have encountered a tech support scam in the last 12 months,” Microsoft said. In terms of age demographics, millennials (between 24 and 37 years old) and Gen Z (between 18 and 23 years old) were found to have the highest exposure to tech support scams.