STUDY REVEALS MISSOURI IS THE TOP SEVENTH STATE TO FALL FOR ONLINE SCAMS | KMMO | #socialmedia | #cybersecurity | #infosecurity | #hacker

A study found tech-savvy teens and young adults are falling for online scams at a higher rate than seniors.

Victims 20 and younger grew by 156 percent from 2017 to 2020 compared to 112 percent for seniors. The 9,053 young victims in 2017 jumped to 23,186 last year.

According to a news release, seniors remain by far the most victimized group overall with 105,301 victims losing $966 million in 2020, but the surge of Gen Z victims is unprecedented and speaks to the growing sophistication of scammers.

Overall a record $4.2 billion was lost to online scams in 2020 and Missouri was the seventh most-scammed state.

Parents and young people should remain vigilant when they shop, date, work, or socialize online.

Officials say here are 5 Common Scams Targeting Teens and Young Adults in 2021:

1) Job Scams: The pandemic made it difficult for young people to find work. Scammers capitalized on this by creating fake jobs that can be done remotely with high pay. They post on job sites and then request advanced payment for training. They will ask for personal information during the “application process” and use it to drain your bank and commit identity theft.

How to Avoid: Be wary of any job that seems too good to be true or asks you for payment prior to beginning. Never provide information or bank accounts until you’ve investigated the company thoroughly.

2) Instagram Influencer Scam: Scammers will create fake accounts that resembles an actual influencer’s account. They will host a fake brand-sponsored contest and ask the “winner” to pay a fee or provide their bank account to win the prize.

How to Avoid: Never send money or bank information to anyone you do not know.

3) Romance Scams: This is when scammers steal photos of people and target young, vulnerable people online. They build a romantic relationship with the victim and begin asking for money.

How to Avoid: Never give money to anyone you meet online. If they will not video chat or meet, they are a scammer.

4) Sextortion Scams: Scammers pose as an attractive person on social media platforms and hooks the target and moves the conversation over to text. The scammer will send an explicit image and ask for one in return. Once received, they reveal themselves to be scammers and threaten to send the photo to all contacts in the person’s phone and post the picture on the Internet.

How to Avoid: Avoid sending explicit images online or by phone. If the person you are falling for will not meet or video chat think twice before sending anything.

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 “gmail.com” or “yahoo.com” that is a red flag. Research the company.

If you are the victim of a scam or attempted scam report it to the FTC, IC3 , FBI and/or  IdentityTheft.gov.

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