Tech support scams cause nearly $350mn in damages in 2021 - The EE

Tech support scams cause nearly $350mn in damages in 2021

Atlas VPN analysis reveals that tech support scam losses increased by 137% in 2021 and caused $347.66 million (€326.58 million) in damages to unwitting individuals globally.

Tech support fraud involves a criminal pretending to provide customer, security, technical support, or assistance to deceive unwary victims. Criminals may act as support or service agents, offering to resolve difficulties such as a hacked email account or bank account, a computer virus, or a software license renewal.

The analysis is based on recently made public data by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The figures reflect inspection on a global scale, not only in the US.

The year 2021 was record-breaking in terms of damages. Losses to tech support scams more than doubled, from $146.48 million (€137.60 million) in 2020 to $347.66 million (€326.58 million) in 2021.

In other words, individuals lost close to $1 million (€0.94 million) per day to these types of scams.

Also, the majority of victims (almost 60%) were over 60 years old, and they accounted for 68% of the damages nearly $238 million (€223.57 million) in 2021.

Yet, last year was not unusual in terms of growth in damages. Losses caused by tech support scams have been rising, on average, by 127% every year since 2017.

The severity of the issue is clearly seen when contrasting losses in 2017 to 2021. Throughout 2017, fraudsters swindled over $14.81 million (€13.91 million) from victims globally. In 2021, it took criminals around 15 days to cause that much damage.

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