While Teens and Young Adults may be digital natives, their inexperience makes them susceptible to online scammers. In fact, according to a new report from the Federal Trade Commission, 40% of people age 20 to 29 indicated they lost money in fraud schemes in 2017 compared to 18% of people age 70 and older. While the results of the survey contradict the stereotype of tech-savvy young people, experts say younger consumers are far more open to sharing personal information online.
Here are some common scams targeting Teens and Young Adults to be on the lookout for to avoid becoming a victim.
Scammers create online ads and online stores supposedly selling cheap designer goods, electronic gadgets and other luxury items. However, these companies are not licensed to sell those goods or the products are imitations.
Fake Scholarship Offers
With the rising cost of college to pay for, scammers use fake scholarship and financial aid offers to steal personal information from students.
Make Money Fast
Who wouldn’t want to make money easy and fast on the internet? So, cyber criminals promise non-existent jobs and get rich quick schemes. Victims are lured into giving away personal information or financial data with the promise of a well-paid job that will bring in lots of money in a short period of time or receive an offer to invest in a great opportunity with a huge payout. Although these scams may not target Teens and Young Adults, they may fall victim to them.
Aspiring young artists and writers are lured to arts and literature contests. The creative young people submit their works for a fee only to find out they need to send more money to see their writing published or to win an even bigger prize.
Acting & Modeling Scams
“A Talent Scout” is looking for America’s Next…fill-in-the blank. All that is required is paying for head shots or acting lessons upfront. And after handing over hundreds or thousands of dollars, no auditions or bookings occur. The acting and modeling industries are rife with these scams.
Employment & Training Scams
Enterprising Teens and Young Adults can find it difficult to find seasonal work, so online scammers offer jobs where they can work from home online. The only hook is they need to buy a bunch of products or pay for training up-front. Then, these unethical companies don’t deliver jobs or training as promised.
There are at least two versions. First, after bidding on and winning an online auction, you find out the item doesn’t exist or never arrives. Or, the unsuspecting Teen or Young Adult sells their items online. The buyer says the payment is on the way and urges them to ship the item right away, but the payment never arrives.
To Good To Be True
While Teens and Young Adults maybe tech-savvy, their inexperience and online habits makes them highly susceptible to online and social media scams. Here are some tips to avoid becoming a victim:
- If it looks to good to be true, it likely is. Stay away.
- Look for online stores and auction sites with good reviews and ratings from real people
- Walk away from a contest, job or scholarship offers that require you to pay upfront
- Never give out your personal information unless you are confident you can trust the person or company you are interacting with