The Financial Scams Millennials Fall for Most

Think only senior citizens fall for online cons and telephone scams? Think again because a new generation is even more vulnerable.

Credit card phishing scam with credit card in fishing hook on wooden tableEviart/Shutterstock

Financial scams have always targeted the elderly, but there’s a new generation that’s particularly vulnerable these days: millennials. During 2017, people between the ages of 20 and 29 were twice as likely to be victims of financial fraud than people ages 70 and older, according to a report by the Federal Trade Commission. And it’s not just 20-somethings: The report reveals that people under the age of 50 were more likely to be defrauded than people over 50. You might know that Millenials are less likely to own home phones, but Gen Z’ers are also way less likely to own these products.

Take advantage of these tips to help protect your loved ones from online scams.

The reason may be that younger people share information online more casually. According to the AARP, younger generations tend to believe that scammers primarily target the elderly, which allows millennials to believe they’re safe. In terms of finances, these are things you’re unfairly blaming on millennials. 

Some of the scams millennials and other people under 50 are particularly vulnerable to include:

  • Imposter scams: These were the scams most frequently reported to the FTC by millennials. They involve someone pretending to be a trusted person, such as a tech support agent or a family member in an emergency, according to CNBC.
  • Travel, vacation, and timeshare-plan schemes: These are the scams that cost victims the most money (approximately $1,710 apiece), CNBC reports.
  • Job scams: In the “Career Advancement Grant” con, people receive unsolicited emails asking them to apply online for a government grant that will pay for professional development and career advancement, says Brie Reynolds, senior career advisor at FlexJobs, in Forbes. Only one in 70 of these contacts is legitimate—the other 69 are an attempt to steal personal information.
  • Phone scams: 17 percent of millennials would hand out personal information if a caller already knew the last four digits of their Social Security number, according to a recent survey. Older generations were far more protective of their info—just 2 percent of baby boomers would make that mistake.

Next, check out these 23 ways you can prevent the misuse of your personal information.

Lauren Cahn
Lauren Cahn is a New York-based writer whose work has appeared regularly on Reader's Digest, The Huffington Post, and a variety of other publications since 2008. She covers life and style, popular culture, law, religion, health, fitness, yoga, entertaining and entertainment. Lauren is also an author of crime fiction; her first full-length manuscript, The Trust Game, was short-listed for the 2017 CLUE Award for emerging talent in the genre of suspense fiction.