Fraudsters using social media to sell goods that will never arrive are targeting younger people, as one in four scam victims is aged 21 to 30, according to Barclays(BARC.L).
Purchase scams, where people buy goods that never arrive or are not as advertised, are by far the most common type of scam – accounting for more than half (60%) of all scams in the last three months, according to data from Barclays covering scams reported to it by customers between March and May 2022.
Barclays said scams often take place on tech platforms such as social media, purchase/auction websites, or dating apps, making younger people particularly susceptible.
Read more: Sunak hails supercomputers as key to making UK leader of next generation technology
However, this same age group is the most confident it will not fall victim to a scam. In a separate survey for Barclays, just over three-quarters (76%) of 21 to 30-year-olds said they were confident in their abilities to spot a scam.
Barclays said smartphones are among the most common type of item fraudsters advertise.
People aged 21 to 30 made up 28% of purchase scam victims in the statistics, compared with 4% who are aged 61 to 70 and just 2% who are over 70.
Barclays has partnered with TV and radio presenter Perri Kiely to raise awareness of scams.
Kiely said: “Like most young people, I consider myself tech savvy as I’ve grown up with social media, and I was shocked to find out how many people my age are falling for scams.”
Read more: Apple and Google targeted by UK competition watchdog over ‘duopoly’ in mobile markets
Ross Martin, head of digital safety at Barclays, said: “Many people picture an elderly person when they think of a scam victim, and, whilst it’s true that older people are more likely to fall for higher value scams, the most common type of scams are where people are tricked into buying something they never receive.
“The best advice is if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
“Scammers usually offer items for significantly lower than its value to lure you in – stop and question why any legitimate seller would do this.
“Check the seller’s website and be wary of anyone asking for a bank transfer rather than a debit or credit card transaction.”
Watch: How to avoid Cyber Criminals