Surprising Report Shows Millennials Are More Likely to Be Scammed Than Their Grandparents

Surprising Report Shows Millennials Are More Likely to Be Scammed Than Their Grandparents

How many times have you visited your parents’ house, only to find that they’ve downloaded malware and useless software onto their computers?

Well, a surprising new report from the BBB Institute shows that millennials are actually more likely to be the victims of scams than older Americans – like the Baby Boomer generation.

That report from the BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust claims that Millennials are more likely to be scammed than Baby Boomers.

The report surveyed 2021 adults and asked whether or not they had lost money to a scam in the previous year. 30% of respondents between ages 25 and 34 were victims of a scam, compared to just 10% of respondents 55 and older.

Some people are saying that this overturns the “stereotypes of scam victims”. Other people see the study as useless, as Millennials spend more time on electronic devices than the elderly.

The study appeared in a paper entitled Cracking the Invulnerability Illusion: Stereotypes, Optimism Bias, and the Way Forward for Marketplace Scam Education.

The author of that paper makes claims like:

“We are all at risk, but younger and more educated individuals are actually the most likely to be scammed.”

The study asked surveyed individuals to report which people are most likely to get scammed. Most respondents said some variation of poor, old, uneducated, or financially-insecure people. Apparently, that stereotype isn’t true.


The Difference Comes Down to Optimism Bias

Some people are attributing the difference between generations as a difference in “optimism bias”. Specifically, older people don’t suffer from optimism bias as much as younger people.

Optimism bias refers to the idea that you think other people are more vulnerable than yourself.

The idea is that many young people approach PC security with the thoughts that “it will never happen to me”. Older adults, on the other hand, prepare and educate themselves with the expectation that they could be victims in the near future.

Top 10 Most Common Scams Affecting Young and Old People in 2016

Part of the BBB’s report on scams discussed the most common scams on the internet today. Today’s scams cover a broad range of fields, which is probably why young and old people continue to fall for the scams:

  • Tax Scam
  • Tech Support Scam
  • Lottery, Sweepstakes, Contest, or Free Prize Scam
  • Advance Fee Loan Scam
  • Fake Check Scam
  • Debt Collection Scam
  • Credit Card Scam
  • Home Improvement Scam
  • Government Grant Scam
  • Work-from-Home Scam

These scams all involve the same basic principle: someone contacts you pretending to be someone they’re not, and they use that fake persona to convince you to give them money, information, or personal data.

Anyways, I’m not sold on the whole “young people get scammed more than boomers” thing. If boomers spent the same amount of time on the internet as millennials, I’m betting the incident rate of scams would be much higher. You can read the full study here:

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