Australians are more likely than any other nation (except India) to be victims of tech support scams. Some 24% lost money to cyber scammers.
Why are Australians more gullible? For starters, we are an affluent target. Some 68% of Windows users encountered a tech support scam, and 19% continued the interaction
A Microsoft report shows 31% of Australian Millennials (aged 24-37), 30% of Gen Xers (aged 38-53) and 16% of Gen Zers (aged 18-23) were the most susceptible and continued tech support scam interaction. 61% of these were males.
Tech support scams are a global issue. Australians experience higher-than-average tech support scams. They need to understand how these work to enable them better to protect themselves from scams. Tactics used by fraudsters to victimise users online have evolved. We are committed to online safety to help better educate people so they can avoid becoming victims.
Mary Jo Schrade, Assistant General Counsel, Regional Lead, Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit Asia
Microsoft tech support scams (Microsoft only covers Windows, not Mac) include
Unsolicited landline or mobile phone calls (46%)
Pop-up Windows (39%)
Email claiming (41%)
Browser redirect to a purported Microsoft website (34%)
Microsoft would never contact a user – any unsolicited contact is likely to be fraudulent.
The most common tech support scam appeals are:
Computer problems and fixes
Microsoft has detected dangerous malware from your IP address
Credit card details used elsewhere
Shopping using your credit cards
Bank account accessed
The scammers get you to install remote support software or click on a malware link. The result is that scammers extort money for a supposed fix, all the while installing their dangerous malware that can record keystrokes, extract bank account data, exfiltrate passwords and much more.
Scammers used credit card, PayPal, Bank transfers, Gift Cards, Bitcoin and more to take your money. Quick action allowed 77% to recover some money.
Should consumers receive a notification or call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft or any other reputable company Microsoft recommends:
Be suspicious of pop-up messages on your computer, and do not call the number or click on the link in any pop-ups received.
Download software only from official company websites or the Microsoft Store. Be wary of downloading software from third-party sites as they may contain scam malware and other threats.