COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Young adults are losing more money to scams than any other age group, according to new data from the Better Business Bureau.
Years of data from the BBB and the Federal Trade Commission have shown older adults are prime targets for grifters and in a way, they still are. The latest BBB research shows that while seniors fall for scams more often, Gen Z victims are losing more money.
“It’s somewhat surprising because we’ve all been, you know, accustomed to hearing that seniors are the biggest targets of scams,” said Judy Dollison, the BBB president of central Ohio. “But if you think about it, there’s so much happening online. And we’re seeing the younger generation really becoming victims of online scams.”
According to the BBB’s most recent Scam Tracker Risk Report, the median loss for scam victims aged 18-24 is $220. For victims 65 and older, the median loss is $199.
The median loss for victims of all ages is $171, according to the report.
The annual risk reports show young adults have been taken for more money every year since 2019, and Dollison expects the trend will only get worse in the coming years.
“Scammers know what works, right? So once it starts working, they’re just going to keep at it. And those are going to grow,” Dollison said.
According to the BBB’s report, the most common cons targeting young adults are employment scams, in which the scammer sends a job seeker a check to cover the cost of supplies or training.
“So (the victim orders) the supplies through the vendor that the employer gives them. Turns out, the original check was fake. And they’re out all the money that they’ve paid for the supplies,” Dollison said.
Other frequent frauds include online purchase, cryptocurrency and home rental scams.
“Always resist the pressure to act urgently,” Dollison said. “Take your time, do your research. And if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. And that should be a big red flag.”
One way to foil an employment scam, Dollison recommended, is to search for the employer online and see if they have any job listings.
To catch an online shopping scam, look closely at the URL to make sure it’s the real website of a brand you trust. Dollison said it is common for scammers to slightly alter the name of a well-known brand to fool consumers.
And when it comes to rental scams, Dollison recommended doing a reverse image search with the pictures on the listing. The same fraudulent listings might be posted in more than one market, she said.
If something feels off, the BBB Scam Tracker can be used to search through reports of scams. The bureau encourages everyone to report scams on the tracker to keep others from falling victim.