Young people are losing three times as much money to online scams as their parents’ generation because they are more easily tricked by “family and friends” fraud, a study has found.
A survey of fraud victims by Get Safe Online found under 25s typically lose £613 per scam, compared to over 55s who hand over £214 on average.
This is because they are more likely to fall for so-called “phishing” scams where criminals hack into people’s social media accounts and purport to be them to persuade their friends and family to transfer them money.
Scammers lure in victims by tricking them into believing that their loved ones are in dire financial trouble, or that they are seriously ill abroad and need money for treatment.
More than one in ten 18-24 year olds have fallen victim to phishing scams, compared to just one in 20 55+ year olds, according to Get Safe Online.
Older victims were more likely to fall for scams in which criminals pretend to be household name companies, it found.
Overall, half of all Brits have been targeted, with eight per cent of the UK population falling victim to the cybercriminals, but Millennials are now more likely than pensioners to be targeted by fraudsters for the first time.
In August analysis of millions of credit files by credit checking firm, Experian, found people in their mid to late 20s had overtaken over 60s as the most likely age group to fall victim to fraud.
It comes after many years of elderly people being the biggest target. Tony Neate, CEO of Get Safe Online; “Younger people have grown up with smart phones and tablets as well as social media which means they are always online in some way or another.
Naturally, that means there are much more opportunities for scammers to target them.
“Secondly, young people are so comfortable with technology and using new devices or platforms. On the one hand this is great, the UK needs a digitally savvy population but on the other hand, it can make younger people more complacent to risk – they just don’t believe that they could be caught out by a cyber crime. The assumption is that it’s only older people are the only victims of online scams.
“Lastly, there is also an outdated idea that a scam email isn’t targeted or sophisticated. For example, the ones that come from rich kings who have been forced into hiding and want to use our bank accounts to hide their millions in, with a handsome fee offered as a thank you. Although these types of emails are still doing the rounds, cyber criminals have become way more sophisticated in their approach.”