A new study found that Gen Z’s are falling for online scams more than their grandparents do.
Generation Z grew up with smartphones and the internet but have been found to fall much faster for online scams than their grandparents do, according to a new study.
Social Catfish, an online identify-verification service, found cyber-fraud among this group (24-years-old and younger), which is supposed be tech savvy, surged 156 percent since 2017, compared to the 112 percent rise among those age 60 or older.
Complaints from the under-20s to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center amounted to about 23,200 last year, a huge increase from 9,000 in 2017.
It also cost Generation Z roughly $71 million (R1 billion) in losses – compared to $8.3 million (R117 million) in 2017.
However, the boomer generation still had the most complaints – 105,300 – that collectively cost the 60 or older group $966 million (R14 billion).
Though the two generations are at the top of the list, the study found Americans of all ages were scammed out of $4.2 billion (R61 billion) in 2020, with those living in California losing the most.
This may be due to many spending extra time online due to some type of stay-at-home order last year that was caused by the still lingering coronavirus pandemic.
‘Scammers create a variety of tricks to scam people out of their hard-earned money,’ Social Catfish noted in its study.
‘They create fake profiles and go onto social media platforms, dating sites and online gaming apps to start conversations with their victims.
‘They use a pre-made script to talk to their victims called the scammer’s playbook.’
However, what may come as shock to most is Generation Z falling of such tricks.
David McClellan, president of Social Catfish, told CNBC: ‘It is alarming.
‘The generation we think of as being the most savvy with the internet … is where the numbers are growing the fastest when it comes to scams.’
‘This age group is very comfortable being online and being very public about their lives.
‘So that makes them very trusting when they’re on the Internet.’
Social Catfish study shows Facebook, Google Hangouts, Instagram, and WhatsApp are the top four platforms where users are scammed and all are used by Generation Z
The report found dating apps are also filled with fraudsters who get ‘their victims off the app and communicate with them via Google Hangouts to avoid getting reported on the dating app.’
Scammers will also unleashing a technique called phishing, or the act of sending emails and text messages that appear to come from official sources or companies asking victims to share personal information.
The emails are typically sent with fake email addresses that are close to authentic addresses, and include photos and logos that look just like those from real companies.
Most scammers are from Nigeria, China, India, Romania and Mexico, according to Social Catfish.