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Microsoft: Millennials Fooled by Tech Support Scams

A new survey from Microsoft shows that millennials are more likely to be fooled by tech-support scams than older generations. Younger customers are being caught by pop-up ads, the company says.


It stands to reason that millennials are more tech-savvy than baby boomers. The former are aged 18-34 and have grown with technology over the last three decades. Post-World War 2 baby boomers (50-70 years old) are befuddled by all things tech, right? Well, not quite. A new study finds that millennials are more likely to fall for tech-support scams than baby boomers.

The company carried out a survey that found pop-up ads catch out millennials more often. This is focused on scams pretending to be Microsoft tech-support. Actually, it is a very easy scam to avoid if all customers remember one simply thing. Microsoft will never take the first step and initiate contact for tech support.

If there is a tech problem, customer must contact the company. Microsoft will not send emails, calls, or messages in this regard. Try telling that to millennials (I am one, by the way). Gone are the days when scams target older confused customers. Instead, savvy attackers are getting younger customers through pop-up ads.


Microsoft's survey found that 50 percent of millennials reported “continuing with a fraudulent interaction” once being exposed to the scam.

For customers aged over 55 years, the number is a much more respectable 17 percent.

Middle-aged Generation X customers (36-54 years) continued with fraudulent interaction 34 percent of the time.

Further Results

From the survey, Microsoft describes the following findings:

  • 1 in 5 consumers surveyed continued with a potentially fraudulent interaction after first being contacted, meaning they downloaded software, visited a scam website, gave the fraudsters remote access to their device or provided credit card information or other form of payment.
  • Nearly 1 in 10 have lost money to a tech support scam.
  • Of those who continued with a fraudulent interaction, 17 percent of them were older than 55, while 34 percent were between the ages of 36 and 54.
  • Surprisingly, 50 percent of those who continued were millennials between the ages of 18 and 34.
  • Consumers in India (54%), China (35%) and the United States (33%) had a greater likelihood of continuing with the fraudulent interaction.
  • In India and the United States, 1 in 5 reported losing money to these scams.
  • The most common victim experience with tech support scams is through software downloads or visits to malicious websites.
  • In the United States, 55 percent of those who continued with a scam, lost money.
  • 92 percent of those who lost money in the United States said they have recovered at least some of their money. Fifty-eight percent in China and 67 percent in India have also recovered at least some of the money.
Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke has been writing about all things tech for more than five years. He is following Microsoft closely to bring you the latest news about Windows, Office, Azure, Skype, HoloLens and all the rest of their products.

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