If you’re digitally native and consider yourself a scam, thieves will have you right where they want to be.
For years now, Better Business Bureau survey research has shown that young people lose money to scammers much more often than older adults who you might think are stereotype victims. The Federal Trade Commission reported similar figures, with 44 percent of 20- to 29-year-olds losing money to fraud, more than double the 20 percent of 70- to 79-year-olds.
The Better Business Bureau’s latest report revealed a new twist: As criminals doubled down on their efforts as people at home spent more time online last year, they succeeded in giving an average loss per scam to adults aged 18 to 24 – $150 – that’s for a much larger outflow of 65+ crowd.
When we look at the types of scams operating on young people, there is a Nigerian prince in the spotlight. The activities targeted vary widely, from the online shopping these victims may do almost every day to the clean handling of one-off paper checks. Illegal programs also target student debt payments they have to make and the jobs they seek to afford.
So let’s define what these scams look like – and remind ourselves that we can best reach young people who think they’re invincible.
Online retail scam
The false promise of a rare or surprisingly cheap product isn’t a new form of flimflam, but the internet certainly makes it easier – especially if you’re used to making frequent purchases online.
Online shopping scams accounted for 64% of lost money reports to the Better Business Bureau last year, up from just 13% in 2015. And according to Bureau data, 83 percent of young adults were hit. Such donkeys have fallen in love with them. , more than any other age group.
There are two trends to note here.
First, don’t be blinded by your dog’s love. Pet and pet supply scams have historically accounted for 25% of online shopping scams reported to the Better Business Bureau – and that number has grown to a third this year when the pandemic of the pet trade broke out. The American Kennel Club and Humane Society of America offer online tips to try to keep you out of your mind and free from the $660 average loss the office reports.
Second, Amazon is everywhere – including as a scam vector. Given its size, scammers try to impersonate Amazon more often than any other company’s brand.
The company offers some interesting tips for spotting trouble in an unsolicited “Amazon” offer:
Real Amazon pages have a dot before amazon.com in the URL.
If you get a message saying you need to update your payment method, always go directly to the Amazon site to see if it’s true – not through a link in your message. message.
The company does not send links with messy strings of numbers in them.
Also of note: Scammers sometimes point their nose at the Better Business Bureau itself by pretending to be the organization when performing Amazon scams.
Millions of people lost their jobs through no fault of their own during the pandemic, so it’s no surprise that these scams are on the rise. And the hunters came up with bogus jobs, which were especially appealing to young people.
Contract vacancies for genuine industries, creative exposure such as assistants and receptionists are popular solutions for those with bad intentions. The same goes for warehouse and shipping job vacancies, an area that has boomed during the pandemic and offered jobs for which many are qualified.
Scammers often ask for dates of birth and Social Security numbers, which can be used to commit the worst forms of identity theft. Another form of scam asking for a few hundred dollars to cover supplies or training for positions turns out to be nonexistent.
Of survey respondents who encountered a job scam, 32% said they originated from a job listing website. Indeed, it goes beyond other popular platforms, the Better Business Bureau noted in a report from last year.
Indeed it seems to be well aware of this and posted tips to avoid this form of fraud. (The company should probably force you to read the warnings before allowing you to view a single listing.) Among them is a self-described style: “Never agree to a job that involves job posting. open multiple accounts and/or post ads on Indeed or on other websites. “
In short, Indeed wants you to be on the lookout for Indeed scammers forcing you to use Indeed to conduct scams on Indeed.
Fake Check Scam
These often involve a very real piece of paper, appearing to be drawn on a personal or business bank account, or displayed as a money order or cashier’s check. It looks so authentic that the recipient doesn’t catch it and the bank doesn’t immediately reject it.
Then it’s the scam’s turn, it’s a follow-up message asking for some money back: “Sorry, this was an accidental overpayment” or “Please use some money to make money.” does mystery shopping of online money transfer services.”
These checks can come in the mail, appearing as a prize or a rebate – just a form of payment that your banking app can quickly convert through your phone’s camera . Often, they’re a twist on an employment scam: A hustler ignores an applicant the hustler just hired, allegedly by accident – and then wants some money back.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, people in their 20s are more than twice as likely as older adults. Many of them haven’t used checks much, and they may not know that although federal rules require banks to generate money from checks quickly, similar banks can take longer. to handle a fake. Once they do, they often want to get their money back from the victim for putting a bad check into the system.
Student loan scam
This is already a problem, but it could get a lot worse soon.
Tens of millions of borrowers are pausing their federal student loan payments right now, thanks to government efforts to keep them out of financial trouble during the pandemic. But as soon as October 1st, a switch will flip and most of those people will need to start the repayment process.
Even in the best of times, it’s hard for student borrowers to get good help from their caterers. And breakdowns seem inevitable this fall.
“It just makes the situation completely ripe for scammers,” said Seth Frotman, executive director of the Student Borrower Protection Center.
You might expect a bunch of thieves offering a “free extended ban” or a non-existent “Biden pardon plan”. They will then attempt to redirect the victim’s payments or use their personal information to steal identities. Or both.
The Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Education offer tips for avoiding scams. And when the Pennsylvania attorney general shut down an entity called Unified Holding Group, it revealed some extensive details about the complexity of these defects.
Among other things, the company requires borrowers to bypass the access of their legitimate loan providers and use legal enough language on its website that things such as “We find integrity fosters a positive reputation and a sense of security in all of our business interactions. “
So what can we do?
It is unsatisfying to default to “more awareness” as a partial solution to combat scams that target systemic complexity and inequality that shouldn’t have existed in the first place. But we are here. Again.
Self-sufficient young people can slow down a bit. For example, perhaps installing Instagram is not necessary. And remember that scammers are often more successful with stressed and lonely people. If you are too, be wary.
Early education is very important. If there is a personal finance class in your child’s school, ask the teacher if there is a section for fraud and theft. Studying the crook’s techniques with wonder, awe, and reluctance as opposed to scolding didacticism can improve everything.
Even better would be your own educational campaign – some kind of true crime drama. Chances are you’ve seen a scam in progress, even if you didn’t participate. So, don’t share stories of yourself about to be a victim – or worse. Sure, you can become the object of temporary ridicule. But the story is likely to stick.