One in five (20 percent) of UK PC owners have been targeted by a phishing phone calls, says Microsoft.

Research by Dynamic Markets, which was conducted on behalf of the tech giant, revealed the UK figure is higher than the average across the US, Canada and Ireland in the UK than the average across.

Microsoft said the calls were from hoax IT security companies and aimed to extract either personal details or money from the victims.

Furthermore, Three percent of PC owners admitted they had actually parted with their hard-earned cash.

"Security software is constantly being improved and so cybercriminals are resorting to deception tactics to trick people into revealing important details or gaining access to their computers," said Stuart Aston, Chief Security Adviser, Microsoft UK.

"Many scammers even claim to be from legitimate companies or their partners. We would like to remind users of Microsoft software that the company does not keep track of consumers that purchase their software and does not directly contact consumers for any reason whatsoever. Do not to trust any caller claiming to be from Microsoft and needing access to your home PC."