Students sit in front of computers during a computer and information technology class at an IACM Smart Learn Ltd. learning center in New Delhi, India. (Photographer: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg)

Indians Turning Smarter At Avoiding Online Fraud, Says Survey

With only 68 percent Indians falling for technology support frauds this year, Indian consumers are becoming smarter at avoiding such scams, a survey said. Around 80 percent Indians fell for such scams in 2016.

Heightened skepticism and distrust about potential scams contributed to better outcomes, according to the “Tech Support Scam Survey 2018” released on Monday by Microsoft’s digital crimes unit.

Millennials and males had the highest exposure to technology support scams, the web-based survey, which is an update to the version released in 2016, said.

They were more likely to lose money, engaged in riskier online behaviour such as visiting torrent sites, have a greater familiarity with technology companies than older generations and were potentially hurt by overconfidence in their device and web expertise. 
Tech Support Scam Survey 2018

The survey was conducted among 16,048 adult internet users in 16 countries. The 2016 survey was conducted in 12 countries.

Technology support scams are a problem worldwide, with three out of five people globally having experienced one in the past year, and one in five losing money to fraudsters, it said. These sophisticated scams, according to the survey, are evolving from cold calls to fake online pop-up ads and fraudulent websites, and affect everyone, including savvy online users like millennials.

Nearly three-quarters of consumers who experienced scams lost trust in software and technology companies’ ability to protect them from tech support scams, it said.

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Additionally, the cost of these scams goes beyond monetary loss, with people reporting higher stress levels after dealing with this type of fraud, it said.

Around 40 percent of people in India continued with the scam this year, against 54 percent in 2016; 28 percent ignored the scam, compared to 26 percent in 2016; while 14 percent continued with the scam and lost money, only 22 percent in faced the same consequences in 2016, the survey said.

Around 84 percent of people experienced severe to moderate stress levels after experiencing a scam, it said. Around 68 percent of consumers believed that it is highly unlikely that a reputable company would initiate unsolicited contact, and 60 percent would distrust that type of communication, it said.

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