Jul 21, 2021 | Mary Jo Schrade - Assistant General Counsel, Regional Lead, Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit Asia
Tech support scams are a global problem, impacting people of all ages. It started with cold calls, with scammers pretending to be Microsoft employees fraudulently notifying people that they were victims of malware infections or other harmful attacks. This evolved into fake “pop-ups” displayed on people’s computers, again trying to convince them that something was wrong with their computers so the scammers could extract payment for “fixing” fake issues. Today, fraudsters have adapted to evolving technology by using more sophisticated tactics or ploys to victimize users online.
Each month, Microsoft receives about 6,500 complaints from people who’ve been victims of tech support scams, which is down from 13,000 reports in an average month in prior years. But it’s not just Microsoft’s brand that the scammers leverage; fraudsters have pretended to be from a number of other reputable tech companies and service providers. To measure the scope of this problem globally, Microsoft commissioned YouGov for a new 2021 survey across 16 countries to look at tech support scams and their impact on consumers. This is a follow-up to similar surveys Microsoft fielded in 2018 and in 2016.