Both kids and adults are becoming heavily dependent on the internet. Whether it’s for entertainment, communication, work, or studies, a home internet has become a necessity for the majority of households in the United States. But with the convenience that comes with it also comes the great risk of online scams.
The continuous evolution of technology has led to the evolution of criminals as well. As these cyber criminals keep up with the technology we have right now, their techniques have become more meticulous as days pass by. The widespread online scams have always been a problem that authorities fail to address, leaving the majority of the population vulnerable to cyber crimes.
The majority of the population thinks that the older generation, say people in their 60s to 70s, are more prone to online scams, and that has been somehow true in the past few years, given that they are not that familiar with how the internet works. But unfortunately, the findings from the recent studies indicated that the tech-savvy generation has been falling for cyber scams nowadays. Surprising? Let’s dig into the data.
What the Study Indicates
According to Social Catfish’s State of Internet Scams 2021 report, online scam victims aged 60 and over will account for an increase of 49,523 in 2017 to 105,301 by 2020. On the other hand, victims under the age of 20 increased from 9,053 to 23,186 within the same period.
It’s easy and logical to assume that older people are highly likely to fall for online scams. However, it’s also worth noting that online scam victims within the 60-year-old and up bracket have only increased by 112% between 2017 and 2020. But, victims under the 20-year-old and below group have seen a 156% increase within the same timeframe.
Another survey conducted by Social Catfish that involved 700 US adults found that nearly one-fifth of those ages 18 to 29 had their identities stolen online. Only 8% of adults over the age of 45 have been victims of identity theft fraud.
According to this data, scam and investment fraud targeting millennials and Generation Z is on the rise. But, what’s the reason behind these internet-savvy individuals being at risk for these online scams? Let’s find out.
The Investment Mindset of the Younger Generation
Real estate, stocks, and precious metals are among the safest investments for older generations, including Gen Xers and Baby Boomers. Millennials and Gen Z are more prone to explore emerging investment forms, such as binary options and cryptocurrency than previous generations. Many cryptocurrencies have seen a dramatic increase in value over the past few years, such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH.) That’s why it gained popularity among youthful investors who are driven to high-risk, high-reward investments.
Compared to earlier generations, persons in their 20s and 30s are more likely to experiment with new investing possibilities due to the complex nature of the idea. But when it comes to their retirement, they have no plans in place. Instead, they’re willing to take a chance on each new cryptocurrency that enters the market and hope for the best.
Investments that guarantee high returns in a short time frame look even more appealing to many. Unfortunately, cryptocurrency trading is a hotbed for internet scammers due to its lack of regulation. The worst part about crypto fraud is that recouping lost money is a big task. To hold the scammers accountable, these transactions are difficult to trace because of their anonymity. Such investment schemes may only be properly recovered by a refund company that specializes in this type of work.
How to Avoid Online Scams
Regardless if you’re a baby boomer, millennial, or Gen Z, you’re always at risk of online fraud. Here are some ways to avoid online scams nowadays.
1.Use a VPN
A virtual private network is software that can encrypt all your information on the internet so that cybercriminals cannot easily retrieve them to use against you. You can check with your internet provider if they offer a VPN software that you can add along with your monthly internet plan, as sometimes, they give it as a freebie for a limited time.
2.Set strong passwords
Make it a habit to set strong passwords for your online accounts, especially with your online banking. A strong password comes with more than eight characters, numbers, a combination of uppercase and lower case letters, as well as different special characters. It’s also best to change your passwords regularly, but make sure to take notes as you change them.
3.Make sure your connection is secure
Protect your home network by setting up a strong password as well. Then, if you will connect to a public network, such as those you connect to in hotels and coffee shops, always be cautious about what you do. We highly recommend you prevent accessing important accounts, such as your bank, to avoid account hacking. Also, never ever send confidential information when you’re connected to a public Wi-Fi unless you have a strong VPN.
4.Be wary of phishing emails
The purpose of these emails is to get you to verify or modify your account information by clicking on the links in the email. Links in the email are often used by cybercriminals to install malware on the computer or device from which you receive and read your emails—allowing them to obtain your personal information.
5.Don’t click every link you see on social media.
Cybercriminals are taking advantage of the popularity of social media. One of the most common scams you’ll see is the people commenting something like, “Earn $1000 per day by clicking this link.” When you see that type of comment, don’t even think about clicking the link they attached. Remember that if it’s too good to be true, steer away from it immediately.
Even though the recent studies showed that the younger generation has been falling for online scams more than the older generations, it doesn’t mean they’re safe or wiser. These fraudsters will always find a way to scam many people, so it’s important to keep your information safe as much as possible.