I’m sorry to break it to you.
When thinking about the age group most likely to fall victim to a scam, most of us picture an elderly friend or relative unknowingly giving up their bank or card information. While this is certainly a problem, a recent report from the Federal Trade Commission shows a very startling reality: Millennials are more likely to fall for a scam than those over the age of 40. The statistics covering a span of 2 years are frightening.
Compared to adults over the age of 40, us millennials are:
- Twice as likely to fall for online shopping scams.
- 22% more likely to lose money to government imposter scams.
- 48% more likely to fall for investment scams.
- 86% more likely to lose money to debt management or credit counseling scams
- 93% more likely to fall for fake check scams.
How does this happen to a generation who grew up with the internet and are viewed as technical mavens to the older generation? It turns out we’re not as tech savvy as we once thought.
Now, we’re not the worst when it comes to all scams. Adults over 40 are 79% more likely to lose money to tech support scams and they’re 43% more likely to fall for romance scams, like those on dating websites. They also take the crown when it comes to the amount of money lost. The median amount lost by millennials in a single scam is only $400. For those between 40 and 50, it’s $500, but for those over 80, that amount reaches $1700.
Maybe the amount we lose to scams is lower because we aren’t as financially secure or maybe we’re better at ending a scam after it’s already in process. As for love, we still have plenty of time so maybe we’re less likely to deal with a long and drawn out romance scam.
__Regardless, these numbers are alarming. __ Millennials get a bad rap in so many areas, but when it comes to our tech savviness, we have little excuse. We have the tools. We have information at our fingertips. How do we get better?
Educate Yourself About Online Shopping Scams There are a ton of online shops with amazing deals and cute clothes. With the way our browsers store our card information, it only takes one click to purchase. We don’t have to go all the way to our wallets and type our card information manually. It’s a blessing and a curse at the same time.
- Know who you’re dealing with. Anyone can open an online shop under any name. Look online for reviews. Verify the physical address and phone number of the seller in case you have problems or need to ask any questions. If the site was just created, that’s a huge red flag to run the other way. With a browser protection tool, you can receive alerts the moment you visit a site that is too new to be trusted. * Know exactly what you’re buying. Look at the fine print for words like refurbished, vintage, close-out, or inspired by. These phrases can indicate that the product isn’t in mint condition or that it’s a counterfeit. * Be aware of your payment method. Never pay with cash, money transfers, or gift cards. These offer no fraud protection, but most credit cards do. With fraud protection, you’re more likely to recoup some of your money if caught in time. * Never email financial information. Email isn’t secure, meaning that your information can be easily intercepted. You should only enter your card information on a secure billing page. You’ll know it’s secure if the page begins with HTTPS (not HTTP). The “s” stands for secure.
Educate Yourself About Other Scams Scams are constantly evolving. Scammers know that we’re not going to fall for their Nigerian Prince schemes (at least I hope we don’t). They use a combination of old tricks and new technologies to up their skills and keep frauding people out of personal information and money. A great place to begin is right here in the Guardio blog.