Why Millennials Are Getting Scammed More Than Baby Boomers
By Cheryl Harbour

There’s a myth that people become more gullible and vulnerable as they get older. “No fool like an old fool.” But according to the annual data summary reported by the Federal Trade Commission, more people in the age group 20-29 reported losing money by being scammed than people in any other age group.

Approximately 40% in the group aged 20-29 reported losing money to fraud, compared to 25% in the age 50-59 category and only 20% in the 60-69 category. That’s good news for baby boomers.

Some theories about why this is true are that that the younger generation is more active online and more open to sharing personal information. They may think others are more at risk than they are, so they let their guard down. (Speaking of millennials – if you’re curious about this population group that is predicted to outnumber baby boomers by 2019 – read our story “Who ARE these Millennials Anyway?”)

Some other insights into fraud included in the FTC report are that the common scams are not necessarily the most expensive one for their victims. The most frequently reported scams were phony debt collections, identity theft and impostor scams, where someone pretends to be a government worker, a representative of a company, or a family member who’s experiencing an emergency. However, the scams resulting in the greatest median loss were travel, vacation and timeshare-plan schemes. This is why many people get out of timeshare because they feel like it's a bad choice.

And while younger people were scammed more often, their median loss was $400, while the median loss for people in the upper age categories (both 50-59 and 60-69) was $500.

What are the schemes that typically target adults age 50 and up?

IRS scams for one – by many people have been warned about these take place: A caller claims to be from the IRS and demands that taxes owed be paid immediately or there will be dire consequences. We now know that the IRS doesn’t operate that way – they will never call before sending a letter and will never demand payment over the phone.

Another scam that is becoming more common involves Social Security. Spammers are using a Social Security Administration customer service phone number (800-772-1213) to trick consumers into revealing personal information. Read our article about it for tips to help you avoid being scammed.

Another form of fraud is the too-good-to-be-true investment opportunity or the pyramid scheme. Applying healthy scepticism is a good defense here.

Some products also offer false promises; for examples, pills that ward off memory loss but have not been proven to work. Again, use your judgement and check with your doctor before putting anything in your body that may cause harm.

For a list of other common scams and schemes, check out this article on cheatsheet.com.



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