Not so tech savvy! Teens are falling prey to online scams FASTER than their grandparents because they are more TRUSTING of the Internet having grown up with it, new study claims

  • A study found Generation Z falls for online scammers faster than boomers
  • Fraud among those 20 and younger spiked 156% since 2017
  • This is compared to the 112% rise among those age 60 or older
  • Complaints from the under-20s to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center amounted to about 23,200 last year, which cost them $71 million in losses

Members of Generation Z – those 20 and younger who grew up with smartphones and the internet – fall much faster for online scams than their grandparents do, a new study finds.

Social Catfish, an online identify-verification service, found cyber-fraud among this group, which is supposed be tech savvy, surged 156 percent since 2017, compared to the 112 percent rise among those age 60 or older.

Complaints from the under-20s to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center amounted to about 23,200 last year, a huge increase from 9,000 in 2017.

It also cost Generation Z  roughly $71 million in losses – compared to $8.3 million in 2017.

However, the boomer generation still had the most complaints – 105,300 – that collectively cost the 60 or older group $966 million.

Though the two generations are at the top of the list, the study found Americans of all ages were scammed out of $4.2 billion in 2020, with those living in California losing the most.  

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Social Catfish , an online identify-verification service, found cyber-fraud among this group, which should be tech savvy, surged 156 percent since 2017, compared to the 112 percent among those age 60 or older

This may be due to many spending extra time online due to some type of stay-at-home order last year that was caused by the still lingering coronavirus pandemic.

Scammers create a variety of tricks to scam people out of their hard-earned money,’ Social Catfish noted in its study.

‘They create fake profiles and go onto social media platforms, dating sites and online gaming apps to start conversations with their victims.

‘They use a pre-made script to talk to their victims called the scammer’s playbook.’

Complaints from the under-20s to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center amounted to about 23,200 last year, a huge increase from 9,000 in 2017, which also cost them roughly $71 million in losses – compared to $8.3 million in 2017

However, what may come as shock to most is Generation Z falling of such tricks.

David McClellan, president of Social Catfish, told CNBC: ‘It is alarming.

‘The generation we think of as being the most savvy with the internet … is where the numbers are growing the fastest when it comes to scams.’

‘This age group is very comfortable being online and being very public about their lives.

‘So that makes them very trusting when they’re on the Internet.’

Social Catfish study shows Facebook, Google Hangouts, Instagram, and WhatsApp are the top four platforms where users are scammed and all are used by Generation Z

Although the two generations are at the top of the list, the study found Americans were scammed out of $4.2 billion in 2020, with California losing the most. This may be due to many spending extra time online due to some type of stay-at-home order last year that was caused by the still lingering coronavirus pandemic

The report found dating apps are also filled with fraudsters who get ‘their victims off the app and communicate with them via Google Hangouts to avoid getting reported on the dating app.’

Scammers will also unleashing a technique called phishing, or the act of sending emails and text messages that appear to come from official sources or companies asking victims to share personal information. 

The emails are typically sent with fake email addresses that are close to authentic addresses, and include photos and logos that look just like those from real companies. 

Most scammers are from Nigeria, China, India, Romania and Mexico, according to Social Catfish. 

Don’t get scammed! Social Catfish provides tips on how to not fall for cyber-fraud 

  • Do not give money to someone on the Internet whom you have never met in person.
  • Do not give out your personal information to someone with whom you are talking online.
  • Keep updated with resources, such as the State of Internet Scams 2021 Scam Guide.
  • Do not trust that someone is who they say they are without at least video chatting with them or meeting them in person first.
  • If they have a job overseas, this is a huge red flag that they might be a scammer since they usually use this as an excuse to not see you or video chat with you.
  • If someone is randomly contacting you out of the blue on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, it usually means that a scammer is on the other side.
  • Make sure to have a password manager to create many passwords for your accounts. This will prevent scammers from easily guessing your passwords.
  • Use AI technology to find scam emails before they can fool you into thinking they are real.
  • Search up your email on our email address reverse search to make sure your information hasn’t been compromised by a data breach.
  • If you have been a victim of identity theft, please report your case to IdentityTheft.gov for further assistance in recovering your identity.
  • Report any scam that you have been a part of immediately to the FTC, IC3, and FBI.

 Source: Social Catfish

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