Consumers in India experienced a relatively high scam encounter rate of 69 per cent in the last 12 months according to Microsoft’s 2021 Global Tech Support Scam Research report. The report looks at tech support scams and their impact on consumers. Consumers in India who lost money to such scams in 2021 lost ₹15,334 on average.
Findings showed that almost half of consumers surveyed in India (48 per cent) were tricked into continuing with the scam — an eight-point increase from 2018, and three times higher than the global average (16 per cent). One in three (31 per cent) of those surveyed continued engaging and eventually lost money, an increase of 17 points compared with 2018 (14 per cent).
In contrast, there was an overall five-point drop in scam encounters globally with a rate of 59 per cent over the same period.
In India, Millennials (aged 24-37) were the most susceptible to such scams in 2021, with 58 per cent of those that continued with the scam incurring monetary loss. 73 per cent of males in India who proceeded to interact with a scammer were likely to lose money.
Each month, Microsoft receives about 6,500 complaints globally; 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 Asia Pacific markets – India, Australia, Japan and Singapore. This is a follow-up to similar surveys that Microsoft fielded in 2018 and 2016.
Mary Jo Schrade, Assistant General Counsel, Regional Lead, Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit Asia, said: “Tech support scams are perpetrated globally and target people of all ages. Findings reveal that compared to the rest of the world, consumers in India are more likely to be targeted, less inclined to ignore scam interactions, and as a result, lose more money. “
Consumers in India were much more likely to continue with scams, regardless of type, as compared with global figures. Incidences of unsolicited call scams increased from 23 per cent to 31 per cent in India between 2018 to 2021, and this continues to be the scam type that consumers in India respond to most often, with almost half (45 per cent) of those surveyed continuing and taking recommended actions from the scammer. In contrast, global scam encounter rates for unsolicited calls fell two points during the same period, from 27 per cent in 2018 to 25 per cent in 2021.
While scams involving pop-up ads (51%), redirects to websites (48per cent), or unsolicited emails (42 per cent) fell 5 per cent, 1 per cent, and 2 per cent respectively in 2021 compared with 2018, consumers in India were 11 per cent, 16 per cent, and 7 per cent more likely to continue engaging with such scams over the same period respectively.