Microsoft says free money scams are most commonly encountered

By on October 16, 2012, 8:30 AM

Microsoft has released results from a recent survey as part of a campaign to promote National Cyber Security Awareness Month. The questionnaire reveals that the phrase “Congratulation, you’ve won!” or something related to lottery winnings is the most popular line used to lure unsuspecting people to online scams.

It should come as little surprise that the promise of free money or getting something for nothing ranks highest in the list of most commonly encountered online scams at 44 percent. Fake antivirus alert scams that mimic real programs account for 40 percent, good for second place on the survey.

Phishing scams using fake emails that attempt to get user to click a link and emails claiming to be from a foreign person that needs help transferring a large sum of money are tied for third place at 39 percent each. Rounding out the top five online scams are work-from-home offers that promise to help you start your own business, encountered by 38 percent of respondents.

The survey points out that the average Internet user has encountered roughly eight different types of online scam. Most people, 62 percent surveyed, believe they wouldn’t fall victim to an online scam although only 12 percent said they felt fully protected. Survey-takers were most fearful of impersonation scams like fake antivirus alerts, phishing scams and work-from-home offers.

Microsoft offers up some common-sense tips to help keep yourself protected online like thinking before you click, looking for warning signs that an offer might be fake and cutting down on spam by only sharing your email address with friends, family and organizations you know and trust.

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