New Zealand has topped a list of the most-scammed countries, and Kiwi men and millennials are more susceptible to being duped.
Among the 16 nationalities surveyed in a study commissioned by Microsoft, New Zealanders reported the highest levels of exposure to tech scams with more than three out of four experiencing at least one.
New Zealanders also topped the list when it comes to 'helpdesk' phone calls and fake pop-up ads that appear to be software notifications.
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The most frequent victims, the study found, are young and male Kiwis due to a "tendency towards risky behaviour and overconfidence in their technical abilities."
"The common stereotype of scam victims is that they are elderly and less experienced with computers and software, but this is a case of a little knowledge leading to overconfidence," says Microsoft New Zealand's National Technology Officer, Russell Craig.
"Because computer use is skewed towards younger generations and males, who are also more likely to engage in riskier behaviours such as visiting torrent download sites, they are more likely to encounter scams."
"Greater exposure plus greater confidence using computers makes under-40s and men more susceptible to clever scammers."
Around one in five New Zealanders who had encountered tech support scams were duped into continuing with an interaction, the study found, but only 6 percent reported suffering from a financial loss because of it.
However, those figures do not reveal the full story. The research found that one in three of those who engaged in a scam ended up incurring costs as a result of spending time or money repairing their systems and to ensure they weren't compromised.
In comparison to New Zealand, India is still the country with the most reported financial losses, with 14 percent of all those who engaged with tech support scams losing money to the scammers - but this is against a whopping 22 per cent who lost out in 2016.
The US has also drastically improved, from 21 percent impacted to just six percent within two years.
Microsoft is by far the tech company most associated with scams, the study found. A quarter of all fake pop-ups, nearly a third (31 percent) of all redirects to counterfeit sites and 21 percent of all scam emails purport to come from Microsoft support teams.
Nations with the highest level of scam exposure:
- New Zealand
- South Africa