Tech-savvy teens falling prey to online scams faster than grandparents

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  • Online-scam complaints from the under-21 crowd to the FBI reached about 23,200 last year, up from 9,000 in 2017.
  • That age group reported total losses in 2020 of roughly $71 million, compared with $8.3 million in 2017.
  • Across all ages, scams last year translated into a collective loss of $4.2 billion.

Being ultra-tech-savvy apparently isn’t enough to protect you from online scams, a new report suggests.

The number of individuals age 20 or younger — members of Generation Z who have grown up on smartphones and the internet — reporting they are victims of cyber-fraud has surged 156% over the last three years, according to a study from Social Catfish, an online identity-verification service. That compares to 112% growth during the same time among people age 60 or older, the group with the next-fastest scam growth.

“It is alarming,” said David McClellan, president of Social Catfish. “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.”

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