This age group loses more money to scams, new report shows

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There are an ever-growing number of ways for Americans to be cheated out of money, but one age group stands alone when it comes to the amount of funds lost to such scams. Contrary to popular belief, the tech savvy Gen Z has lost more money to scams than older age groups, according to a new report by the BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust. “Fully 81% of people ages 18 to 24 reported losing money when targeted by an online purchase scam,” says Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois, in a press release. “Identifying how this age group is being targeted and how they are impacted by scams will raise awareness and help block scammers’ success.” The report examines data submitted to the BBB Scam Tracker between Jan. 1, 2022, and June 24, 2023. It documents a shift in the demographics of which age group is most affected by scams. Previous studies showed that the 18 to 24 age group reported a lower median loss than older groups, according to Bernas. The report detailed the top five riskiest scams for young adults: employment, online purchase, cryptocurrency and investment. Employment scams were the most prevalent and expensive form, accounting for 30% of scams reported by this age group with a median dollar loss of $1,819. “It’s important that we spread awareness about employment scams, especially to younger people,” Bernas said. He added that 43% of employment scams reported by this age group included a mention of fake check scams. People who were scammed reported they were told to deposit checks into their accounts and then transfer their funds to a vendor to pay for training or office equipment. He said young people who don’t understand it takes time for checks to clear and how to determine if checks are good are vulnerable to being scammed. Often, he added, by the time many of them realized the check was bad, the money was gone. The other riskiest scams for those aged 18 to 24 are the following in order of prevalence: Fake checks or money orders, phishing, romance, advance fee loans and credit repair or debt relief. How do I avoid scams? For employment scams: BBB advises young people to do extensive research on any job offer and to especially be skeptical if it sounds too good to be true. It adds that users should take time to find the job listing on the company’s official website and to watch out for the red flags in low-skill remote jobs with high pay. For online purchase scams, BBB recommends avoiding making quick purchases on social media. The company said scammers will offer hard-to-sell products at low prices but then never deliver the ordered product. For trading scams, traders are encouraged to visit to research companies and find trustworthy businesses. Users should only deal with secure websites that have “HTTPS” and a “lock” symbol on the address bar.

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