It’s sometimes easy to think phishing or vishing scams only work on people who aren’t very savvy online. Namely, there’s a sense that Generation Z (born after 1997) and Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996) have good enough cyber awareness to avoid online tricks. But social engineering scammers are finding success with these groups. The number of online scam victims aged 20 and younger increased 156% between 2017 and 2020, according to Social Catfish’s The State of Internet Scams 2021 report.

A Growing Volume of Young Online Scam Victims

The number of scam victims under 20 years old increased from 9,053 in 2017 to 23,186 three years later.

Young people registered the greatest increase among all other age groups across the reporting period. The over-60 age group increased 112% from 49,523 to 105,301, for instance. In the 40-to-49 group, the volume of scam victims grew 104% from 44,878 to 91,568.

Supporting this finding, SocialCatfish also interviewed an editor who surveyed 700 U.S. adults. Their study revealed that individuals aged 18 to 29 took a dubious first prize as victims of identity theft at 15%. By comparison, the rate for people over 45 stood more firm at just 8%.

Why Are Young People Falling for Scams?

Social Catfish wasn’t expecting the results shared above. As quoted from its research:

We are shocked to see that the number of victims who are younger than 20 years has increased by 156% since 2017. According to…

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