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BBB says people 18-24 were highest scam risks last year due to online scams

People 18-24 were highest scam risks  in 2020
People 18-24 were highest scam risks in 2020
Published: Mar. 3, 2021 at 9:25 PM EST
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) -Scam artists hit different groups in various ways, and last year the Better Business Bureau says adults ages 18–24 reported the highest median losses ($150) and the highest likelihood of loss (56.6%) to the BBB.

According to the BBB Previously, older age groups consistently lost higher median dollar amounts to scammers year over year, even while young adults tended to lose money more often. This year, the financial loss reported by those 18-24 was equal to that of adults 65+.

The BBB says online scams have risen during COVID-19 pandemic.

“Scammers go where they feel they can best take advantage of people,” said Melissa Lanning Trumpower, executive director of the BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust, BBB’s educational foundation, which produced the report. “Not surprisingly, scams perpetrated online through websites and social media apps were the riskiest contact methods for all age groups in 2020 – including both young adults as well as older adults.”

The risk of financial loss also rose significantly in 2020. Nearly one of every two reports to BBB Scam Tracker (46.7%) noted a financial loss, with two-thirds of reports (64.7%) resulting in financial loss being online purchase scams, which was the top riskiest scam in 2020.

Online purchase scams were the most common scam reported to BBB, comprising 38.3% of all scam reports. Pet and PPE-related online purchase scams spiked during the pandemic.

“Scammers are opportunists,” said Trumpower. “If there is a shortage of a product, or an opportunity to leverage a person’s heightened emotional state – they will use that scarcity or fear for their personal gain. Scammers will also imposter a recognizable and respected organization or brand to get your attention.”

Another way scammers take advantage of younger adults in particular is by utilizing a payment method less familiar to younger generations: checks. Fake check scams were the second most risky scam for adults ages 18-24 in a year where payment via online payment systems rose across all age groups. Fake check scams yielded one of the highest median dollar losses per encounter at $1,679 in 2020.

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