Gone are the days of senior citizens being the majority of people who fall victim to financial scams. According to a report by the Federal Trade Commission, Millennials are now reporting losing more money to financial scams than any other generation.
Among all the complaints of money fraud in 2017, 40% were within ages 20 to 29. Making up nearly half of all money fraud victims, it is clear that millennials are not immune to scams and this can happen to anyone. In fact, most millennials assume they are immune to these kinds of scams and end up taking more risks online, sharing more personal information than any other age group. Computer scams are common, and the more information you share online the more vulnerable you become.
Debt collection, identity fraud, and imposter scams make up the top three categories of reported money loss. In 2017 alone there were roughly 350,000 imposter scams resulting in a total $328 million loss, which is more than any previous year. Have you ever received a phone call from someone saying a relative is in trouble and needs money right away? This is just one example of the many scams that one in five will lose money from.
There is no guaranteed way to protect yourself from fraud. Anyone can fall victim to a scam at any time, however, there are a few simple ways to reduce your risk to common scams. The first being to hang up the phone when someone on the other line claims they are from the IRS and you need to make an immediate payment or is pulling at your heartstrings by saying a family member needs help. Second, you can minimize the amount of personal information you share and save online. Instead of setting up and auto-payment and saving your personal information, make payments monthly and re-only enter your information at the time of payment. Third, do your research If someone contacts you requesting a charitable donation, take some time to check that this is a valid organization before giving away your money. Additionally, consider an anti-scam computer program to reduce your vulnerability to this kind of fraud.