Skip links
Consumers losning money on fake tech support

Consumers losing money on fake tech support

Three out of five consumers have encountered a tech support scam in the last 12 months. One out of six consumers was tricked into continuing with the scam, often leading to victims losing hundreds of dollars to the fraudsters.

Microsoft has commissioned YouGov to make a tech support scam survey across 16 countries. The survey this year shows fewer consumers having been exposed to scam compared to 2018, but it also shows that those who continued to have a contact with scammers were more likely to have lost money than in the previous survey.


The countries in the study include Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Finland, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, the NetherlandsSingapore, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States.

Millennials (aged 24-37) and Gen Zers (aged 18-23) have the highest exposure to tech support scams. One out of 10 millennials and one out of 10 Gen Zers that encountered a scam fell for it and lost money.

Among those who continued with a scam tricked into thinking they needed help to fix a problem, the most common issue experienced during the interaction was computer problems (30%), followed by compromised passwords (23%) and fraudulent use of credit/debit/store cards (18%).


”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”, Microsoft said in a blog post.

”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.


The survey also shows that people are generally more skeptical about tech support calls or pop-up messages, which helps them avoid falling victim to these scams.

”Globally, those who lost money reported higher engagement in risky online activities and overestimated their abilities with respect to using computers and the internet. ”Similar to the 2018 results, we’re seeing younger people fall prey to tech support scams more often, in particular Gen Zers and millennials, as well as males. This also correlated to higher engagement than older generations in riskier online activities, such as using torrent sites and sharing email addresses in exchange for content.”


While scammers most commonly asked consumers to download software or go to a website (with 30% of victims who did so reporting subsequent computer problems), the proportion of consumers asked for their government-issued identification number like social security number increased since 2018.

16% were asked to go to their banking website during the session. Not surprisingly, there was an increase in the number of consumers reporting fraudulent use of credit/debit cards, accounting for the increase in money lost. ​


”We also see scammers using email, search engine optimization (SEO) and social engineering tactics to lure victims. These tactics have served to expand an enterprise model that is easily replicable, with perpetrators sharing resources, including referrals to call centers, leads and payment processors.”

”Once they engage with potential victims, the scammers steal personal and financial information as well. Those who fell victim paid at least $200 on average, and many victims faced repeat scam interactions. Quite a few unlucky victims even lost thousands of dollars for fake tech support to fix nonexistent computer issues.”


Moonshot News is an independent European news website for all IT, Media and Advertising professionals, powered by women and with a focus on driving the narrative for diversity, inclusion and gender equality in the industry.

Our mission is to provide top and unbiased information for all professionals and to make sure that women get their fair share of voice in the news and in the spotlight!

We produce original content, news articles, a curated calendar of industry events and a database of women IT, Media and Advertising associations.

    Do you want an experienced opinion on a job issue?
    Moonshot Manager is here to answer!

      Moonshot community sharing thoughts and ideas, in a anonymous, safe environment.