When we think of an age group most likely to fall victim to an internet or phone scam, it’s easy to picture an elderly relative, unknowingly giving a bad guy their bank or credit card information.
While that happens all too often, a report from the Federal Trade Commission tells a different story. The report based on complaints from September 2017-August 2019 shows that the millennial generation is more likely to fall for a scam than people 40 years old and older.
How does this happen to a demographic that’s grown up online and who often think they know plenty about how the internet and scammers work? Turns out, the 20-30-year-old consumers aren’t as wise as they want to believe.
According to the report, millennials are twice as likely as those over the age of 40 to fall victim to online shopping scams. They’re 22% more likely to lose money to government imposter scams, 93% more likely to fall for fake check scams, 86% more likely to lose money to debt management/credit counseling scams, and 48% more likely to fall for investment scams. People over the age of 40 are most likely to lose money to tech support scams (79%) and 43% more likely to fall for romance scams, such as someone they meet online asking for money.
The report though says while the likelihood of losing money is weighted toward the younger generation, the amount of money lost is highest among the oldest consumer. Millennials reported losing around $400 (the median amount in the survey). Adults 40-50 report losing about $500 and those over the age of 80 the median amount was a whopping $1,700.
The report goes on to say that millennials reported losing nearly $450 million to fraud in just those two years. It’s also important to note that the report is based on reported losses to the FTC. Many people who lose money to scams never file a complaint or report.
If you fall victim to a scam, you should report it to the FTC.
The takeaway from the report is that people of all ages are susceptible to online frauds and scams, so it’s important for everyone to stay aware and vigilant to avoid scammers digging through your checking account.