Controlling for levels of exposure, millennials fared far worse at avoiding tech support scams than their older counterparts.
Among those who were exposed to tech support scams, more than a third of those between the ages of 18 and 24, and 43 percent of those ages 25 to 34, fell victim to scammers.
In contrast, older customers seemed to keep their guard up. Among those ages 55 to 65, just 16 percent of those exposed to tech support scams fell victim. And in the over-65 group, 17 percent fell into the scammers’ traps.
Tech support scams range from unsolicited phone calls to unsolicited emails to pop-up ads to website re-directs. The most common tech support scam comes through software downloads or visits to malicious sites, Microsoft said.
Unsurprisingly, young adults ages 18 to 34, who spend so much of their lives online, encountered tech support scams at the highest rates compared to those in older age brackets.
Tech scams hit customers in India, China and the U.S. the hardest, the survey found, while customers in Australia and Canada were targeted much less. The survey sampled 1,000 adults ages 18 and older online, with respondents from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Singapore, South Africa and the United States.
The survey specifically asked customers whether they’ve been targeted by scammers falsely presenting themselves as Microsoft representatives, a massive problem for the technology company. In the past two years, Microsoft has heard from over 175,000 customers complaining about tech support scams. The con artists often demand payment to “fix” the computers they’ve hacked.