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FBI report shows people still falling for tech support scams, Malwarebytes shows how

Credit: Thinkstock via CSO

Tech support scams are nothing new and even to this day they continue to exploit the vulnerable. According to the latest 2021 report from FBI's Internet Crime Control Centre (IC3), they are still very much prevalent and in fact, the numbers showing the losses to internet tech support scams is now the highest ever at over $347 million, more than double last year's. As expected, the scammers preyed most on elderly people accounting for nearly 70% of the total money lost.

Tech support scammers continue to impersonate well-known tech companies, offering to fix non-existent technology issues or renew fraudulent software or security subscriptions. However, in 2021, the IC3 observed an increase in complaints reporting the impersonation of customer support, which has taken on a variety of forms, such as financial and banking institutions, utility companies, or virtual currency exchanges.

In 2021, the IC3 received 23,903 complaints related to Tech Support Fraud from victims in 70 countries. The losses amounted to more than $347 million, which represents a 137 percent increase in losses from 2020. Most victims, almost 60 percent, report to be over 60 years of age, and experience at least 68 percent of the losses (almost $238 million).

The image below breaks down the total losses to tech support scammers over the last five years:

Tech support scam numbers comparison per FBI 2021 report

Malwarebytes has decided to chime in and provide some additional resources to make people aware about how these scammers will often impersonate real tech corporations. An image for such a fake request by imposter Malwarebytes is provided below. In this example image, the scammers are asking a potential victim to pay a sum of US$420 to renew a supposed Malwarebytes subscription.

Fake tech support mail example by Malwarebytes

You can find the full FBI report at this link and read Malwarewarebytes' blog post here.

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