New Studies Suggest Young People Are Twice as Susceptible to Scams

While older generations have a reputation for not being tech savvy, Millennials and Gen Zers may be getting tricked more often

Young woman on the beach phoning the bank for credit card support. Fraud, both in calls and online, is more likely to affect younger people.
"But the link looked real!" Kids these days.
martin-dm / Getty

When it comes to getting scammed, it appears the younger generations are just as or even more susceptible than older age groups, as reported by Dazed and based off new research.

One example: A recent study by the Local Government Association in the U.K. showed that people between the ages of 16 and 34 were more likely to be scammed (via calls and texts), and that the age group accounts for over half of the scams experienced in that country.

Meanwhile, a Visa and Aston Institute for Forensic Linguistics (AIFL) report from last week found that 18-34-year-olds in the U.K. are almost twice as likely to be scam victims as those aged 55+. The research also found that 23% of young people are unlikely to check scam messages for spelling or grammar mistakes, and 29% are “unlikely to consider how persuasive the language is.” As well, impersonation scams skyrocketed by 155% on Instagram in the last year, where the majority of users fall in the age groups of 18-24 and 25-34.

“Younger people can be more susceptible to some types of fraud because of the ways criminals target people, including via text, WhatsApp and email,” a UK Finance spokesperson told Dazed. “Younger adults are also more likely to share personal information online, through social media or by filling in details such as their email address and phone number on various websites or pages. This can put them at greater risk as fraudsters can use this information to make it easier for them to target individuals and appear genuine.”

So, what can we older people do to help the impressionable youth of today (at least in the U.K., where this research was done)? Point them to a poorly named website that offers unsolicited advice, of course! As Take Five to Stop Fraud notes, “Scams often begin with a phone call, text, message or email that appears to be from a trusted organization or person.” Scammers may also get in touch with you via social media. “When criminals impersonate a friend or family member, they often invent reasons to ask for money,” as TFTSF says. And they may practice “spoofing,” where their calls, texts, DM or emails appear to be real. (There have even been recent cases where spam messages appear to be coming from your own phone number.)

So be incredibly careful when giving out personal information and contact your bank immediately if you think you were scammed. Oh, and listen to your elders.

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