Who’s more susceptible to scams…millennials or seniors?


There’s probably a 20-something in your life who’s plugged in all the time, lives a life of non-stop social media saturation and chugs libations like avocado juice.

Well, here’s a shocker: That hipster is less “with it” when it comes to scams than the doddering 80-year-old up the street who asks you to speak louder because they can’t hear you!

RELATED: Vacation rental scams are back, just in time for spring break

Millennials not as smart as they look when it comes to scams…

The latest research from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers new insight into what age groups are being taken most often by scamsters.

Surprisingly, it’s young people — not the old folks! A whopping 40% of people aged 20-29 said they lost money in scams during 2017. Yet less than half that amount — 18%, to be exact — of people who are 70+ reported losing any money.

The unfortunate thing for seniors is that when they were hit, they lost more than the younguns. People age 80+ reported a median loss of $1,092 versus a median loss of $400 for those aged 20-29.

The FTC offered no explanation as to why the millennials were more likely to be scammed than senior citizens. But it’s likely that being a digital native opens them to a whole host of online scams attempts that never make their way to senior citizens who haven’t embraced computers and smartphones.

Here’s a look at the most frequently reported categories of scams:

Top 3 fraud areas

Debt collection

Some 23% off all complaints in 2017 were about debt collectors.

If you’re in trouble with debt in your life, money expert Clark Howard has long recommended getting in touch with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) online or by calling 1-800-388-2227 to find a local affiliate office near you.


NFCC affiliates offer free or low-cost debt counseling. About one in three of NFCC clients just need some budgeting help to get their lives back on track.

Beyond simple budgeting, they can also get you set up on a hardship debt-management plan. For a a nominal fee, you may be able to have your local NFCC affiliate negotiate a reduced interest rate and lower your payments if you qualify.

RELATED: How one couple paid off $40K of debt in 24 months

Identity theft

Identity theft can come in a couple of different flavors. The most popular is credit card fraud, where someone steals your digits and runs up a bill as if they were you. That’s a perennial favorite of the criminals that never seems to go away.

But particularly around this time of year, we see tax fraud where someone steals your Social Security number and files taxes as you. By doing this, they can claim your refund before you even have a chance to legitimately file your taxes.

That’s why you should consider filing your taxes as soon as you can each year. That’s typically right at the end of January.

Imposter scams

Some $328 million was lost to imposter scams in 2017, making it the single most-costly scams to U.S. consumers despite being only the third most-common one overall.

In recent weeks, we’ve seen the rise of tax-related imposter scams where people impersonate CEOs on email and request a bulk download of W-2 forms so they can steal your tax refund.

But other varieties of impostor scams can also include fake tech support services, supposed government officials not being who they say they are and even criminals impersonating your loved ones and saying they’re in danger!

RELATED: Warning — This new Amazon scam is coming after your money!


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