If you think of young adults as more tech savvy than older users, think again. A new survey from Microsoft indicates that younger adults are more likely than older ones to fall for computer tech scams.
The study surveyed 12,000 users in 12 different countries. Thirteen percent (13%) of users in the lowest age bracket—18 to 25 years old—reported that they had lost money to callers who claimed to be representing Windows or other tech groups. The number increased to 18% for users 25-34 years of age. That compares to just 4% of individuals over 65.
This scam has been around for years, earning millions annually for its operators. The caller seeks access to your device then reports a virus has been found. You have to pay to get it removed. Once you provide a credit card, the imaginary problem is miraculously fixed and you’re out hundreds of dollars.
Scammers reach out by phone, unsolicited email, pop-up message or a redirect from a site you visit. Most claim to be from Windows, not Microsoft.
Another interesting survey statistic is that 22% of residents in India lost money to the scam. The U.S. was in second place at 21%. British users are the most tech savvy with only 2% losing funds. Worldwide, the rate was 9%.
Microsoft, which released the study as part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, offered this advice, “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.”
Of course, Microsoft does not monitor individual computers and call when a genuine problem occurs. Yet these determined rip-off artists keep calling—even if you tell them you’re a Mac user! Hang up swiftly if you are targeted and spread the word to friends both young and old.