Microsoft: 31% Indians lost money to tech fraud; see safety tips

Phishing attacks in India are on the rise. Cyber criminals are continuously using new and innovative ways to defraud innocent users into opening a malicious email or clicking on a link containing malware that can cost users their personal information, including financial losses.

Here’s what Microsoft’s 2021 Global Tech Support Scam Research report reveals:

  • Users in India experienced a relatively high scam encounter rate of 69% between January 2020 to May 2021.
  • 7 out of 10 consumers in India were targeted by a tech support scammer in the last 12 months.

  • Nearly 50% consumers have been tricked into being a victim of a scam.

  • 31% of those with scam interactions lost money in 2021.

This spurt in cybercrime has made it very important for individuals to know how to stay safe, online. Microsoft Security recommends five ways to avoid becoming a tech support scam victim:

Service providers or companies never make unsolicited phone calls for tech support. If you didn’t reach out for tech support, they won’t call you to offer tech support. Beware, scammers often fake Caller ID.

Error messages received from legitimate tech firms never include phone numbers. Browsers like Microsoft Edge block known support scam sites using Microsoft Defender SmartScreen.

If you’ve requested tech support, they’ll tell you ahead of time if there’s going to be a fee, and that fee will never be in the form of cryptocurrency like Bitcoin or gift cards.

Never download software from a third-party website or a link in an e-mail. Download software only from official websites, authorized partners, or digital distribution platforms like the Microsoft Store. On your mobile devices, only download from the official app store.

Legitimate tech support will never ask for your password, Aadhar number, or other personal data. If you’ve already experienced a tech support scam, uninstall any applications the scammers made you install, run a security scan, reset your device and change your passwords. In case you have made a payment, call your credit card provider as soon as possible.