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Why young people are more prone to online scams than boomers are

While baby boomers lost more money to scams, members of Gen Z said they were more likely to fall victim to identity theft and phishing scams.
Why young people are more prone to online scams than boomers are
Posted at 10:54 AM, Sep 25, 2023

Believe it or not, members of Generation Z are more likely to fall for online scams than baby boomers are, according to a study released by the National Cybersecurity Alliance.

One big reason for the growing amount of online scams involving young people is how active they are on the internet. According to a 2022 study by the National Cybersecurity Alliance, 64% of Gen Z members say they're "always connected." Just 27% of baby boomers said they're always online. Baby boomers are far more likely to say they use the internet a few times a day compared to those in Gen Z. 

Social Catfish reported that the money lost by victims ages 20 and younger grew nearly 2,500% from 2017 through 2022. For seniors, the amount lost increased 805%. 

Social Catfish noted that victims under 20 lost $8.2 million in 2017 compared to $210 million in 2022. Seniors lost $3.1 billion in 2022 in online scams, the group found. 

SEE MORE: Student loan scams surge as payments resume

The National Cybersecurity Alliance found that 34% of Gen Z members said they've fallen for a phishing scam, compared to 12% of baby boomers. About 18% of those in Gen Z said they've been victimized by identity theft compared to 8% of baby boomers. And 15% of young people said they have fallen for romance scams, which is nearly three times the percentage of baby boomers. 

Ericka Dilworth, the director of operations at the Cleveland Better Business Bureau, said there might be some reasons why young people are becoming more susceptible to scams. 

"I think the younger demographics are a little arrogant when it comes to 'We can't be scammed,' but that's not what we're seeing," said Dilworth. "They are being taken advantage of, and the dollar amounts can be equal to or even higher than what we see in the older population."

Retired FBI agent and security consultant David Morgan warns that new apps are making it easy to create fake nude images of anyone.

"These apps were created for the fashion industry, so they do a really good job at taking clothes off of normal pictures," said Morgan.

Younger people are also being targeted with fake employment opportunities, according to the BBB.

Scripps News Cleveland's Mike Brookbank contributed to this report.

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