Scams are big business these days, accounting for $50 billion in lost and stolen money, according to the 2017 Better Business Bureau (BBB) Scam Tracker Annual Risk Report. One surprising trend: More young people are falling victim to fraud and scams than older people.
The BBB report showed that Americans ages 18 to 34 were more susceptible to scams (43.7% were victims) than Americans 55 and older (27.6% were victims). However, while occurrences are less for older Americans, seniors still lose more money in scams than younger victims.
How Are Scammers Contacting Victims?
Overall the phone is the most used initial method of contact scammers use. The contact may depend on the scam, though, as online purchase scams happen on websites and home improvement scams happen mostly in person. Employment scams are also commonly via email.
Younger Americans were more likely to fall online scams conducted through a website, an email, messaging, social media or a text message whereas Americans 65 and older were more likely to fall for scams that used the phone.
Most Common Scams by Age
Online purchase scams are the #1 or #2 scam that Americans ages 54 and younger fell for in 2017, but the most common scams do vary by age. Americans ages 18-24 fell victim to fake check and money order scams, most whereas Americans 65 and older were most commonly victims of tech support scams.
How Victims are Paying When Scammed
Credit cards are the most common payment method scam victims use (used by 38% of victims overall). However, younger adults were more likely to pay via bank account, debit, cash, or online payments, while older adults were more likely to use credit cards and checks.
This report shows that people of any age can be targets for scammers and a variety of methods are used by thieves. Read more about the riskiest scams according to the BBB, the top scams so far in 2018 and how to protect yourself from identity theft.
Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer or other company, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. All information, including rates and fees, are accurate as of the date of publication.
This article was originally published on March 12, 2018, and has been updated.