We need to get real about who can fall for online scams

New research has revealed that under 35s are most likely to fall victim to online scams and fraud. 

You might assume a typical scam victim would be an elderly person, but new research from Visa has revealed this isn’t the case at all.

Because, while 73% of people perceive fraud as an issue that affects older generations, it’s actually those who are under 35s that are the most likely to fall victim to fraud.

That’s right; while millennials and Gen Z assume themselves to be tech savvy and streetwise enough not to get caught out by scammers, this new data is testament to just how polished and elaborate fraud can be in today’s world.

It’s no longer a case of deleting spam emails that ask you to share your bank details with a mystery person on the internet who has just come into a large amount of money and wants to transfer you, a total stranger, a cool 25 million. 

Nowadays, fraudsters pose as trustworthy institutions like the Post Office and HMRC to get their hands on our money, and are even able to fake the legitimate phone numbers of these companies and high street banks to help sell their con.

Lockdown has only made people more susceptible, with criminals using the Covid-19 pandemic to target victims online, through impersonation scams, romance fraud and investment scams.

According to the UK Finance Authority, impersonation scam cases, in which criminals impersonate trusted organisations to trick victims into handing over their money, almost doubled in the last year.

And Action Fraud – the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime – has reported that over £34.5m had been stolen since 1 March 2020.

These statistics are worrying, and we need to start getting real about how easy it is to fall for such sophisticated scams.

Visa’s research also shows that in the last year, the average amount lost by those falling victim to fraud was £6,000 and under 30s accounted for over 4 in 10 cases.

Amongst the 18-34 year olds surveyed, fraud was found to be three times less likely to come up in conversations than more general conversations about money, and half as likely to come up compared to conversations about the environment.

But these are important conversations that we really need to be having. 

Under 30s accounted for over four in ten cases of fraud in the last year.

A wider knowledge gap about the safeguards around fraud was also uncovered in Visa’s research, with two in five people unaware that they wouldn’t be held responsible for fraudulent or unauthorised charges to their Visa debit or credit card.

Once again, under 35s were the least likely to know about the consumer protections banks and payment providers have in place. 

Jeni Mundy, Managing Director, UK & Ireland, Visa commented on the findings: “Being a target of fraud can be very distressing and it can have as much of an emotional impact as it does a financial one. But people shouldn’t feel ashamed or embarrassed if it does happen to them. That’s why we’re giving the reassurance that, when it comes to paying with Visa, you’re protected; our Zero Liability Policy means you won’t be held responsible for fraudulent charges made with your account.”

Images: Getty

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