Internet scams and phishing attacks in India are on the rise. After the COVID Pandemic started, these attacks grew exponentially and the cybercriminals have adopted new techniques and used new methods to defraud innocent users. These criminals employ different techniques and trick users into opening a link, a malicious email, or through a tech support phone call that can cause them to lose their private information such as their banking information.
Microsoft’s 2021 Global Tech Support Scam Research report revealed that about 70% of the consumers in India encountered scams in different forms between January 2020 and May 2021. This means that every 7 out of 10 consumers encountered scams and were tricked into continuing with the scam. Out of that 70%, 31 percent lost their money to scams in 2021.
This report revealed many important points, the most important one being that tech and internet scams are on the rise in India, and about 70% of the consumers were targeted by scammers over the period of 12 months. This abrupt increase calls for individuals to learn how they can stay safe online. Here are 5 ways by which you can avoid becoming a tech support scam victim as recommended by Microsoft:
1. Beware Of Unsolicited Tech Support Calls
Any service provider or a credible company won’t make an unsolicited and unannounced phone call for tech support. They will only call you when it is highly necessary or you reached for tech support, otherwise, they won’t call you to offer tech support for free.
Scammers now use fake caller IDs and they trick users into believing that they are from Amazon or Microsoft and offer to provide free tech support but in reality, they are just trying to scam them. Be very careful about tech support calls that you receive and don’t share anything sensitive with anyone. These scammers are mostly after your money and they would do whatever they can to prove that they are legitimate.
2. Ignore Call-to-Action Popups
Whenever you receive an error message on any website that you are visiting and the message is from a legitimate tech firm or tech company then know that it is a fake one. Major tech companies like Microsoft or Amazon never include their phone numbers in error messages.
You would receive such pop-ups when you visit untrusted websites that are generally full of adware. Whenever you receive such a popup on the internet that asks you to call on a given tech support number then know that it is a scam and you should just ignore it.
3. Never Pay The Fee In The Form Of Cryptocurrency or Gift Cards
If you ever requested tech support for any program or service then prior to continuing ahead, you will be told if there is any fee involved or not, and never will any company ask for a fee in the form of cryptocurrency or gift cards. Legitimate tech support will never ever ask for the fee in any alternative form.
So, whenever you receive a call from anyone claiming to be from a tech support company and asking for the fee in any alternative form then know that the person calling is a scammer and he will scam you of your hard-earned money.
4. Install Legitimate & Trusted Apps Only
Another way to avoid being a victim of internet scams in India is to ensure that all of the installed apps on your device are legitimate. Never ever download a cracked, patched, or unlocked app since most of these apps are loaded with malware and viruses that can put your device and your private information at risk.
Only download software from official and authorized digital distribution platforms and websites. On your mobile devices, only download from the official app store, which for Android devices is Google Play Store, and for Apple devices is App Store.
If you have any unofficial app installed on your device, even if it is an unknown browser then your information can be easily compromised. Even when you will be visiting web pages like the Tplinkwifi login page through the default gateway address such as 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.178.1 then your information won’t be safe.
5. Never Share Your Personal Information
Legitimate tech support will never ask for your personal information such as your banking information, your Aadhaar number, or any other sensitive data. If you have experienced any such phone call before then know that those were scammers who might have asked you to install any application.
If you did install any application then uninstall it at the earliest, run a security test and if required, change your password and reset your device. Remember, never ever share your banking information or credit card details with anyone.