Forget the cliché of the weak senior citizen falling sufferer to scammers — a bigger share of younger individuals reported that they misplaced money to fraud than older people did in 2017.
Among shoppers ages 20 to 29, 40% of those that made fraud complaints to the Federal Trade Commission misplaced money, in contrast with simply 18% of those that have been ages 70 and older, in accordance to an annual report from the federal agency launched Thursday.
The report examined shopper complaints made to the FTC in 2017. Roughly 2.68 million shoppers complained to the Federal Trade Commission about fraud in 2017, down from 2.98 million individuals the yr prior. The largest share of complaints general got here from individuals between the ages of 60 and 69 — this group represented 19% of the reviews the FTC acquired final yr.
Who are fraud victims?
Research has proven that youthful shoppers may truly be extra weak to scams. Although the favored picture of a fraud sufferer is somebody who’s much less educated or older, in reality the other is usually true. People between the ages of 25 and 34 have been the most probably to lose money to fraud, according to a 2016 study from the Better Business Bureau. And extra than half of those that suffered a fraud-related monetary loss had a university diploma.
Riskier on-line conduct
Part of the issue, particularly the place younger individuals are involved, is the so-called “optimism bias”: Young individuals assume that others are at a better danger of fraud, in order that they take extra dangers on-line. Other analysis has proven younger individuals are extra inclined to share personal information online reminiscent of their e-mail tackle or mom’s maiden identify than older generations.
Plus, youthful shoppers could also be much less acquainted with what a scam seems like, stated Monica Vaca, affiliate director of the FTC’s Division of Consumer Response and Operations. “Older consumers are doing a really good job recognizing fraud when they encounter it,” Vaca stated. “They’re taking the next step to warn other people about it.”
Seniors pay extra once they’re duped
While youthful individuals may be extra possible to be duped, older people will endure a higher loss when they’re defrauded.
The median loss for individuals between the ages of 70 and 79 was $621, versus simply $400 for these ages 20 to 29, in accordance to the FTC. This could possibly be a advantage of the monetary conditions for these totally different teams of shoppers, Vaca stated. “It’s possible that some older consumers have a little bit more money to lose,” Vaca stated. “It might also be that con artists when they get someone on the phone might assume they have more money to lose.”
Indeed, the monetary influence from fraud on seniors might go far past what’s reported to the FTC. Some researchers consider as a lot as $three billion is stolen yearly from seniors by fraudsters, according to Consumer Reports.
Overall, shoppers misplaced extra to fraud in 2017
Fewer shoppers reported fraud in 2017 — however those that did misplaced extra money. Altogether, shoppers misplaced $905 million to fraud final yr — a 7% improve from 2016. But these losses have been extremely concentrated, as solely 21% of shoppers who made a grievance to the FTC reported a loss.
The median loss a shopper suffered was $429. Travel and trip scams tended to be the most expensive, with a median lack of $1,710. Other pricey fraud classes final yr included mortgage foreclosures aid and enterprise and job alternative scams.
Thankfully for shoppers, these types of fraud weren’t the most typical. That doubtful distinction goes to scams involving debt assortment (23% of all reviews), id theft (14%) and imposter scams (13%).
Credit card fraud was the most typical type of id theft, constituting extra than 133,000 reviews, adopted by employment or tax-related fraud.