Scams. They’re something that all South Africans are fully aware of, but for some reason still fall victim too.

This according to a recent Global Tech Support Scam Research report (PDF) conducted by Microsoft. The company notes that 71 percent of the South African consumers surveyed confirmed that they were affected by a tech support scam.

While this latest figure represents a slight drop in monetary loss compared to a similar survey conducted in 2016, the number is still worryingly high, with SA ranking third among people affected in the 16 countries that participated in said survey.

“A tech support scam is a phone call, email or online interaction which appears to be from a reputable company, claiming that your computer is infected with a virus,” explains Kethan Parbhoo, chief operations and marketing officer at Microsoft South Africa.

“Unfortunately, these scams cause consumers to lose money, time and suffer greater life stress. Gen Z, millennials and males had the highest exposure to tech support scams, both globally and in South Africa, in 2018. They were more likely to lose money and engage in riskier online behaviour,” he adds. 

Despite South Africa’s numbers not making for great reading, the survey found on the whole that consumers are wising up to such scams, with it falling to 63 percent this year, where it was 68 percent in 2016.

The result of this decline is down to a reduced number of ad pop-ups or windows reaching consumers while online, according to Microsoft.

“Consumers have also developed a healthy skepticism about unsolicited contact from technology and software companies,” notes the Microsoft exec.

“Unsolicited contact has become a red flag for consumers that signals a potential scam. If faced with an unsolicited contact from a reputable tech company, 38% of consumers would try to block that company from making contact in the future and 33% would look up the issue online,” concludes Parbhoo.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]