If you’re a digital native and consider yourself safe from all scams, thieves have you where they want you.
For years the Better Business Bureau’s survey research has shown that young adults lose money to scammers much more often than older people who you might think of as the stereotypical victims. The Federal Trade Commission reports similar numbers, with 44% of people aged 20 to 29 losing money to fraud, more than double the 20% of people aged 70 to 79.
The latest Better Business Bureau report revealed a new twist: When criminals redoubled their efforts as homebound people spent more time online last year, they managed to bring back the median scam loss. for adults 18-24 at the same level – $ 150 – it was for those over 65 and over.
When you look at the types of scams that work on young people, there is no Nigerian prince in sight. Targeted activities vary widely, from the online purchases these victims may make almost every day to their one-stop handling of paper checks. The illegal schemes also target the student debt payments they have to make and the jobs they seek to offer them.
So let’s see what these scams look like and remember how we could best reach young people who think they are invincible.
Online Retail Scams
The false promise of a rare or surprisingly cheap product isn’t a new form of flimflam, but the internet certainly makes it easier, especially if you’re used to shopping online frequently.
Online shopping scams accounted for 64% of Better Business Bureau money loss reports last year, up from just 13% in 2015. And according to bureau data, 83 percent of young adults who have been exposed to such scams have fallen in love with them more than any other age group.
There are two trends to consider here.
First of all, don’t be blinded by the love of puppies. Pet and pet sourcing scams have historically accounted for 25% of online shopping scams reported to the Better Business Bureau – and this rose to a third last year as consumer purchases. pandemic pets have exploded. the American Kennel Club and the United States Humanitarian Society offer tip sheets online to try and keep yourself from being both dog free and over the median dollar loss of $ 660 reported by the office.
Second, Amazon is everywhere, including as a vehicle for fraud. Given its size, scammers try to impersonate Amazon more often than any other company’s brand.
The company offers some sound advice for spotting problems in an unsolicited “Amazon” offer:
Real Amazon sites have a period before amazon.com in the URL.
If you get a message that says you need to update your payment method, always go directly to the Amazon site on your own to see if it’s true, and not through a link in the message.
The company does not send links containing strings of scrambled numbers.
Also note: crooks sometimes thumb their noses at the Better Business Bureau itself by pretend to be the organization when initiating Amazon scams.
Millions of people were left without jobs through no fault of their own during the pandemic, so it’s no surprise that these scams have escalated. And crooks have taken to offering bogus jobs that are particularly attractive to young adults.
Publications for concerts at the doorstep and exhibition to creative industries like assistants and receptionists are common ploys for people with bad intentions. The same goes for warehouse and shipping job displays, an area that has exploded during the pandemic and offers jobs that many people are qualified for.
Scams frequently ask for dates of birth and social security numbers, which can be used to commit the worst forms of identity theft. Another form of fraud charges a few hundred dollars to cover supplies or training for positions that turn out to be non-existent.
Of the survey respondents who faced job scams, 32% said theirs came from the job board. report since last year.
Indeed seems well aware of this and posts advice to avoid this form of fraud. (The company should probably require you to read the disclaimers before letting you view a single ad.) Or on other sites.
In short, Indeed wants you to watch out for Indeed scammers who trick you into using Indeed to run Indeed scams.
Counterfeit Check Scams
This is often a very real piece of paper, which appears to be drawn on a business or personal bank account, or returned as a money order or cashier’s check. It looks so genuine that the recipient doesn’t understand it and the bank doesn’t immediately reject it.
Next is the con, which is a follow-up message asking for a refund of part of the money: “Sorry, this is an accidental overpayment” or “Please use part of the money to make. mystery shopping online money transfer services.
These checks can arrive in the mail, appearing to be a prize or a discount – just the kind of payment your banking app can quickly digest through your phone’s camera. Often times, they’re a twist on an employment scam: A scammer overpays the candidate he just hired, supposedly by accident – and then wants to get some of the money back.
People in their 20s are more than twice as likely as the elderly to experience this sort of thing, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Many of them haven’t used checks much, and they may not know that while federal rules require banks to make check funds available quickly, those same banks may take several days to uproot a fake. Once they do, they usually want the money refunded to the victim for bringing the bad check into the system.
Student loan scams
This is already a problem, but it could get worse very soon.
Tens of millions of borrowers are having their federal student loan payments suspended right now, thanks to government efforts to avoid them financial problems during the pandemic. But as of October 1, a switch will flip and most of these people will have to start the refund process.
Even in the best of circumstances, it is difficult for student loan borrowers to get good help from their service agents. And debacles seem inevitable this fall.
“This makes the situation totally ripe for the crooks,” said Seth Frotman, executive director of the Student Loan Protection Center.
You can expect a flood of thieves offering “free extended forbearance” or “Biden forgiveness plans” that don’t exist. Then they would try to redirect victims’ payments or use their personal information for identity theft. Or both.
the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Education offer advice on how to avoid scams. And when the attorney general of Pennsylvania to close an entity called Unified Holding Group, he revealed revealing details about the complexity of these drawbacks.
Among other things, the company told borrowers to ignore the awareness of their legitimate loan officers and had language just staid enough to be legitimate on its website saying things like, “We find integrity fosters a positive reputation. and a sense of security in all of our business interactions.
So what can we do?
It is deeply unsatisfying to go by default with “more awareness” as a partial solution to scams that tackle systemic complexity and inequalities that shouldn’t exist in the first place. But here we are. Again.
Young single adults might slow down a bit. Maybe the installation of Instagram is not necessary, for example. And remember that scammers are more successful with stressed and lonely people. If you are either, be careful.
Early education is crucial. If there is a personal finance class at your child’s school, ask the teacher if there is a section devoted to fraud and theft. Studying the techniques of the dishonest with awe, awe and reluctant respect as opposed to rebuked didacticism might make matters better.
Better yet would be your own education campaign – a kind of real crime drama. Chances are, you’ve seen a scam in action, even if you weren’t fooled. So unfold the stories of your own near-victimization – or worse. Of course, you could become the object of temporary mockery. But history is likely to hold.