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New Study: Teens Falling for Online Scams Faster Than Their Grandparents

August 2023 by

A new study [1] found tech-savvy teens are falling for
online scams at a higher rate than seniors.

In the last five years, money lost by Victims 20 and younger grew nearly
2,500% from 2017 to 2022 compared to 805% for seniors.

Victims under 20 lost $8.2 million in 2017 compared to $210 million in
2022. Seniors remain by far the most victimized group overall losing
$3.1 billion in 2022, but the surge of young victims speaks to the
growing sophistication of scammers.

Social Catfish [2] - a reverse search [3] technology company - released
a study on the State of Internet Scams 2023 [1] using 2023 data from the
FBI IC3 and FTC.

Overall, a record $10.3 billion was lost to online scams in 2022, up
from $6.9 billion.

Young people should remain vigilant when they socialize, work, date and
play games online.

Here are 5 Common Scams Targeting Teens in 2023:

1) Social Media Influencer Scam: Teens idolize their favorite
influencers. Scammers will create fake accounts that look just like the
actual influencers account. They host a fake brand-sponsored contest and
ask the "winner" to pay a fee or provide their bank account to win the

How to Avoid: Only follow the official influencer account, fake accounts
have fewer followers. Never send money or bank information to anyone you
do not know.

2) Romance Scams: Scammers steal photos of good-looking people and
target young, vulnerable people online. They make the victim fall in
love and begin asking for money.

How to Avoid: Perform a reverse search [3] to confirm their identity. If
they will not video chat or meet, they are a scammer.

3) Sextortion Scams: Teens use smart phones for sexting which has
now led to sextortion. Scammers pose as an attractive person; they send
an explicit image and ask for one in return. Once received, the scammers
threaten to make the photo public if a ransom is not paid. Many teen
sextortion victims take their own lives.

How to Avoid: Never send explicit images online or by phone. If the
person you are falling for will not meet or video chat think twice
before sending anything.

4) Online Gaming In-App Purchases: When online gaming, players can
make in-app purchases to enhance the gaming experience. Scammers are
tricking children into giving credit card information and downloading
malware for nonexistent rewards.

How to Avoid: Only make purchases directly from the game’s manufacturer.

5) Online Shopping: Fake websites are created that look like an
online store selling items at a huge discount. If you buy, the item
never arrives, they pocket the money and steal your credit card and
personal information for future online theft.

How to Avoid: Make sure the website is not full of typos. If the
"customer service" email is "" or "" that is a red
flag. Research the company.

If you are the victim of a scam or attempted scam report it to the FTC,
[4] IC3 [5], FBI [6] and [7].


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