SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - It’s a surprising report. Adults ages 18-24 are now reporting the highest average losses ($150)and the highest likelihood of loss (56.6%) due to scams, according to the Better Business Bureau.
Previously, older age groups consistently lost higher median dollar amounts to scammers year over year, even while young adults tended to lose money more often. However this year, the financial loss reported by those 18-24 was equal to that of adults 65 or older.
One of the many reasons for the increase in scams against younger Americans is the rise of online scams during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020 43.1% of people said they spent more time online due to the pandemic, and 57.1% said they purchased more online because of the pandemic according to the BBB Scam Tracker.
Additionally, during the pandemic, the risk of financial loss also rose significantly. Nearly one of every two reports to the BBB Scam Tracker noted a financial loss, with two-thirds of reports resulting in a financial loss being from online purchase scams.
Online purchase scams were the most common scam reported to BBB, making up a total of 38.3% of all scam reports.
A common way scammers take advantage of younger adults, in particular, is by utilizing a payment method less familiar to younger generations: checks. Fake check scams were the second most risky scam for adults ages 18-24 in a year where payment via online payment systems rose across all age groups. Fake check scams yielded one of the highest median dollar losses per encounter at over $1500.