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Tech support scam on rise in India; Here’s how to protect yourself from phishing attacks

Microsoft's report observed that seven out of 10 consumers in India were targeted by a tech support scammer in the last 12 months.

cyber security, cyberattacks, Hacking India, cyber security India, India hacking methods, Cyber hacking precautions,The Cyber Cell of UT Police has arrested three suspects from Nagpur for their alleged involvement in a Rs 12.65 lakh cheating case, the money from which was further invested in crypto currencies. (File)

Phishing attacks in India are on the rise. Cyber ​​criminals are now using new and innovative ways to defraud innocent users into opening a malicious email or clicking on a link, containing malware that can cost users their personal information, including financial losses.

Microsoft’s 2021 Global Tech Support Scam Research report reveals that consumers in India experienced a relatively high scam encounter rate of 69 percent between January 2020 to May 2021. This means that nearly half the consumers surveyed were tricked into continuing with the scam and 31 percent of those who continued with scam interactions lost money in 2021, a 17 point increase from 2018.

The report observed that seven out of 10 consumers in India were targeted by a tech support scammer in the last 12 months. This spurt in cybercrime has made it very important for individuals to know how to stay safe, online. Microsoft Security recommends five ways to avoid becoming a tech support scam victim:

1. Be wary of unsolicited tech support: Service providers or companies never make unsolicited phone calls for tech support. If you didn’t reach out for tech support, they won’t call you to offer tech support. Beware, scammers often fake Caller ID.

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2. Ignore pop-ups with urgent call-to-action: Error messages received from legitimate tech firms never include phone numbers. Browsers like Microsoft Edge block known support scam sites using Microsoft Defender SmartScreen.

3. Don’t pay in cryptocurrency or gift cards: If you’ve requested tech support, they’ll tell you ahead of time if there’s going to be a fee, and that fee will never be in the form of cryptocurrency like Bitcoin or gift cards.

4. Ensure all apps on your device are legitimate: Never download software from a third-party website or a link in an e-mail. Download software only from official websites, authorized partners, or digital distribution platforms like the Microsoft Store. On your mobile devices, only download from the official app store.

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5. Safeguard private information: Legitimate tech support will never ask for your password, Aadhar number, or other personal data. If you’ve already experienced a tech support scam, uninstall any applications the scammers made you install, run a security scan, reset your device and change your passwords. In case you have made a payment, call your credit card provider as soon as possible.

First published on: 20-10-2021 at 17:05 IST
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