Despite drop in encounters.
Although there has been an overall fall in scam encounters – three out of five consumers (59 per cent) were found to have been targeted by a tech support scammer in the last 12 months, a drop from 64 per cent in 2018. One out of six consumers (16 per cent) were then tricked into continuing with the scam, a three-point decrease from 2018, noted the 2021 Global Tech Support Scam Research report by Mircosoft.
Of those surveyed, Gen Zers (aged 18-23) and Millennials (aged 24-37) were found to have continued interactions most when targeted with the scams – 23 per cent for both age groups. Across the Asia Pacific (APAC) countries surveyed, results were diverse: Consumers in India were three times more likely to continue with a scam interaction (49 per cent) than the global average (16 per cent), while consumers in Japan performed best globally, with only 5 per cent of those surveyed proceeding to interact with a scammer. Australia (19 per cent) and Singapore (14 per cent) saw rates on-par with the rest of the world.
Each month, Microsoft receives about 6,500 complaints globally from people who have been the victim of a tech support scam; this is down from 13,000 reports in an average month in prior years. To better understand how the problem with tech support scams is evolving globally and to enhance efforts to educate consumers on how to stay safe online, Microsoft commissioned YouGov for this global survey in 16 countries, including four APAC markets – Australia, India, Japan and Singapore. This is a follow-up to similar surveys that Microsoft fielded in 2018 and 2016.
The global fall in scam exposure rates between 2018 to 2021 was largely driven by a reduction in scams involving pop-ups (-8 per cent) as well as those with redirects to websites (-7 per cent). This trend was also reflected in the region, with Japan recording the greatest decrease among the APAC markets surveyed, at a 12-point drop for encounters relating to pop-ups and a five-point drop for website scams across the same period. Australia, India, and Singapore also saw decreases of four, five and one points around pop-ups respectively and two, one and three points around website scams, respectively.
On a global level, there was a one-point increase in consumers losing money during the scam interaction in 2021 (7 per cent) as compared with 2018 (6 per cent). This trend was also seen in the APAC markets with Japan (3 per cent) and Singapore (5 per cent) recording a one-point increase from 2018 to 2021; Australia (9 per cent) recorded a three‑point increase during the same period. More significantly, about a third of consumers in India (31 per cent) who continued with such scams lost money as a result, an increase of 17 points from 2018 (14 per cent).
Millennials, Gen Zers, and males most likely to fall victim to scams