Study Says Millennials Often Fall For Online Scams — Here's How to Avoid Them

By Julissa Treviño Updated on May 13, 2019

It's often seniors who are considered easy targets for scams and frauds, not tech-savvy millennials.

But a new but the study by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) found that Americans in their 20s and early 30s are more likely than those over 70 to fall for online scams. Here's what else the study found — and a few tips to avoid scams. 

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Online scams are just one type of fraud

There were more than 1.1 million cases of fraud reported to the FTC in 2017, and only 130,000 were online scams using websites or email. However, that's still a large number, and it explains why millennials, who use  the internet daily, are at greater risk.

The study found that millennials were more likely to become victims of credit card theft, as well as employment or tax-related fraud.

Millennials lose money more often, but in smaller amounts

The report cites that in the age group of 20 to 29 reporting fraud, 40% said they lost money.

On the opposite side, of those 70 and older who reported fraud, only 18% said they lost anything

When they did fall for scams, people between ages 70 and 79 lost an average of $621 and those between older than 80 lost $1,092, compared to millennials who only lost $400.

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One of the most common type of fraud was initiated by phone and then paid by wire transfer, according to the report. 

In a similar report from the Better Business Bureau, it was reported that millennials were most impacted by fraud. The study showed fake-check fraud was common.

Tips for avoiding scams

Use unique passwords

Passwords shouldn't be your birthday or street name. Try using a password generator, like LastPass, that will create a new password for each site you use.

Passwords should be impossible for anyone to guess.

Don’t click on links in emails

Many phishing schemes will look like they come from your bank or another institution you're familiar with, but will ask you go visit a link to input your social security number or other personal information.

Before you click on anything that comes your way via email, make sure you recognize the sender and the email looks legitimate.

Instead of clicking on links, go directly to the institution's website to login to avoid getting the victim of fraud.

Check your credit report

Checking your credit report once a year is free, and it's a good idea to do it regularly to be sure no one's opened fraudulent accounts under your name.

AnnualCreditReport.com offers a report from each of the three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

These tips can help go a long way to prevent fraud, which can impact your credit score. Your financial health depends on it. 

Published in: Financial Freedom

About the Author
Julissa Treviño

Julissa Treviño is a writer and journalist based in Texas. Her work has appeared in BBC Future, CityLab, Columbia Journalism Review, The Dallas Morning News, Racked, Teen Vogue and other publications. She enjoys traveling, playing with makeup, biking and trying new food. Follow her @JulissaTrevino. Read more by Julissa Treviño