Microsoft has published results of a study this week which reveal that people aged 18 to 34 are more likely to fall prey to cyber criminals when compared to their older counterparts.

The firm surveyed 12 000 people aged as young as 18 and older than 65 in 12 countries including the US, the UK and South Africa.

The study found that 13% of persons between the ages of 18 – 24 had been scammed online or over the phone and lost money as a result. This figure rose to 18% in the 25 – 34 age bracket before declining to 11% in the 35 – 44 age group. As the respondents got older, that figure falls even further until it reaches 3% at the 66+ age range.

Pop ups are like, so hot right now

The methods of attack that people have experienced is somewhat revealing. More than 50% of respondents between the ages of 18 to 44 had come across a fraudulent pop up or advert while browsing the internet. This number dips to 47% in the 45 – 54 age group, and continues to fall to 38% in the 65+ age group.

ms-study
A snapshot of the Microsoft study showing which type of scam was experience by which age group.

However, with that said, tricks which involve a scammer cold calling a victim were experienced by 44% of respondents in the 65+ age group. So while grandma and grandpa aren’t clicking malicious pop-ups as often (good on them) they are fielding calls from ne’er-do-wells.

The video below from YouTuber, Lewis’s Tech shows how a cold call scam would play out. We advise you don’t try and mirror his actions – everything he does is intentional – even if you think you know what you’re doing – cyber criminals can be more tricky than you think.

South African’s ignore scammers

Globally speaking South African’s are more prone to flat out ignoring scammers than most of the other 12 countries surveyed.

Locally, 58% of respondents said they ignored scammers which compares favourably to countries such as India where only 26% of respondents ignored scammers.

Interestingly, despite 46% of US respondents saying they ignore scammers, the number of respondents who had lost money through a scam sits at 21%, the second highest in the survey behind India.

Only 8% of South African respondents said they had lost money through a scam.

While this study pits youngsters against the older generations it does illustrate something quite neutral: everybody is at risk.

There was not a single instance in the figures Microsoft presented that show an age group that has not fallen prey to an online scammer.

As a sort of public service announcement Microsoft reiterated that it would never reach out to users to provide tech support, all communication with the firm – in terms of tech support – must be initiated by the user.

In addition Microsoft tells user that they should never purchase software or services from a tech support scammer or hand over credit card details. Similarly, Microsoft warns users not to let a technician remotely access your computer unless their legitimacy can be verified.

If you do encounter a cold calling tech support scammer Microsoft advises you hang up immediately.

Warn mom and dad kids, or rather don’t. Take this advice for yourself, your parents appear to be quite tech savvy according to Microsoft.

[Via – Microsoft] [Main image – CC BY 2.0 Blogtrepreneur]