Young People Are Getting Duped by Online Moneymaking Scams, Just Like Old People

It's the "How do you do, fellow kids?" of scams

Don't forget the old saying about things that seem too good to be true.
Jp Valery/Unsplash

It’s not uncommon to read about instances of scammers targeting seniors with offers that promise to make money and succeed only in defrauding their targets. If you’re younger and reading about this, you might do so with a certain sense of moral superiority — clearly, you’d think, no one younger than a certain age would ever fall for something like that. And if you thought that, you would be absolutely incorrect. Turns out young and old alike are being defrauded by the unscrupulous in increasing numbers.

That alarming piece of news comes via a new Wall Street Journal report by Svati Kirsten Narula. The article describes a number of ways in which enterprising con artists utilize social media to defraud people for whom social media is a big part of their everyday lives. One person targeted by a scammer was presented with an opportunity to invest $150 and make back 10 times that. While that seemed too good to be true, the presence of a mutual contact on Instagram suggested that maybe it wasn’t. (Spoiler alert: it was, in fact, too good to be true.)

The article divides scams targeting Generation Z into three categories: fake romances, product giveaways and cash offers. And, as Narula points out, some of these scams work because they’re not far removed from more legitimate versions of the same — Megan Thee Stallion’s cash giveaway earlier this year, for instance. The increased popularity of cryptocurrency further complicates matters.

The experts Narula spoke with for the article encourage anyone who encounters an opportunity like this to approach it with skepticism, and to look closely at the account offering something that seems overly enticing. Often, something will give away that the account in question isn’t what it seems — a typo in the username or a low follower count, for example. It doesn’t matter if you’re 21, 51 or 81 — sometimes, taking a step back to make sure an offer is actually legitimate can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.

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