Online Scams Are Apparently Victimizing Teens More Than The Elderly–Here Are Some Explanations | #datingscams | #lovescams

Online scams. When you hear this term, you often think of the not-so-tech-savvy senior citizens who more often than not fall for them. But you might be surprised to learn that teenagers-a generation considered far more technologically inclined-have fallen for these scams more often in the past few years.

According to CNBC, cases of cyber-fraud involving people aged 20 years or younger have risen 156% over the past three years. This is a considerable jump compared to 112% increase when talking about the elderly.

Cyber fraud was able to steal a massive $71 million from youngsters last year. While this doesn’t even come close to how much older folks lost to internet scams in 2021 ($966 million), it is still considered nonetheless alarming.

So how are young people falling for these scams on the web? Here are some explanations.

Young People Are ‘More Trusting’ Online

According to the research firm Social Catfish, this all stems from teens being far more comfortable baring themselves online. Company president David McClellan says that this makes them a bit more trusting of internet strangers than normal, opening them up to cyber fraud victims.

This trusting nature also gets them in trouble with far worse people lurking on the web. This vulnerability is deep-rooted in the developing brains of adolescents, which Psychology Today says have a “highly malleable” prefrontal cortex.

The prefrontal cortex is responsible for controlling impulse inhibition, cognitive flexibility, and overall cognitive control for the uninitiated. If a teenager has poor impulse control, that is what likely gets them to deal with cyber scammers, who are masters of manipulating people’s impulses.

Read also: WhatsApp Users Beware: New Scam Leads to Identity Theft, Accessing Bank Account

Online Scams Work The Same Way As Addiction

Making a deal with somebody online is always risky. Anyone can be anonymous on the internet, after all. However, it seems like people almost always get punked by the promise of huge benefits-even if the risks are right up their faces, according to a study conducted by the BBC.

In the study, it was revealed that almost half of the participants (48%) seemed willing to contact the number of a person they know nothing of, after they received a one-page solicitation letter telling them they won something.

This method basically uses the same principles as addiction or substance abuse. When people indulge in a vice, the reward system of their brains fires up because they feel good by making the habit. The same thing goes for online fraud because these scams always promise massive rewards-often in an unreasonably short amount of time.

When people are confronted with the potential for a big payout, it will often outweigh the risks.

‘Scratch My Back, I Scratch Yours’

A lot of internet scams also prey on the human tendency to feel obliged to reciprocate something. If somebody does something for you, you feel like you owe them something back.

The Conversation calls this “enforced indebtedness,” which will now unknowingly force a victim to do something unwise. A perfect example is a situation where you’re given a chance to invest your money. The fraudster will make it clear that they’re “doing you a favor,” and in return, they want you to return the favor.

Scams Are Perfectly Avoidable Online

At the end of the day, it’s all about being vigilant. Understand that the internet, while extremely useful nowadays, can be a hotbed of scammers just waiting for the next victim to be baited. Don’t trust anyone you do not personally know with your sensitive information, and you’ll be fine.

Related: FBI Says Online Dating App Scams Now Results in More Than $133 Million Losses! How To Identify, Avoid, and Report Them

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Written by RJ Pierce

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