Millennials are widely — and correctly — regarded as tech-savvy, digital enthusiasts. But when it comes to e-commerce, the surprising truth is that millennials are 25% more likely to report losing money to fraud than people over the age of 40, according to the FTC.

Analysts have suggested that traits unique to the millennial generation have made it much more likely for them to fall victim to certain types of scams. In particular, the fact that millennials are comfortable with technology, more curious than previous generations and more concerned about their financial stability can create ideal conditions for would-be scammers and fraudsters.

The More You Know

Fortunately, one of the greatest defenses against fraud is awareness. Simply brushing up on common scams and fraud practices can help keep consumer (of all ages) safe. Simply click + to view more information about each scam.

Card Cracking

Scammers use social media to solicit victims with promises of “easy money.” Once the customer responds, they are prompted to give their account information, including PINs and card numbers. Fraudsters will deposit bogus checks and withdraw the funds before the checks are returned.

Investment scams

Often touted as low- or no-risk investments or guaranteed returns, these schemes find scammers swindling unsuspecting victims out of money on the promise of financial gain.

Imposter scams

The fraudster will pose as a bank or government official and claim the victim owes money. This fraud counts on people fearing retribution and acting to appease demands for money without asking questions or looking for an official process.

Debt collection scams

Similar to an imposter scam, this scam involves a fraudster claiming a victim owes them money, often with threats attached.

Job scams

Preying on jobseekers, this scam purports to find the victim a job in exchange for an upfront fee. Of course, no effort will be made to secure the victim a job.

Student loan scams

This scam takes numerous forms, but all share the common theme of an offer of improved loan rates, consolidation or debt reduction in return for an upfront fee or percentage of a loan settlement.

Online shopping scams

Another scam of many shapes and forms, online shopping fraud often involves low-quality or non-existent products sold on websites that will be shut down when complaints begin to prevent transactions.

Smishing

Think of this as the evolution of phishing. Performed via text message, smishing is an attempt to obtain personal information, often with the goal of applying for credit cards under a stolen identity.

Protect and Prevent

Along with awareness of common frauds and scams, there are a few simple practices all consumers should follow to protect themselves from bad actors. Simply click + to view more information about each scam.

Do your homework

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Whether it is a purchase, an investment or a debt settlement, look into the bonafides. If the site doesn’t list contact information, if the contact pushes for money up front or if you can’t find reviews, it may be a scam.

Keep it official

When in doubt, ask questions and operate by official channels. If the IRS really wants money from you, the IRS will write to you. Do not accept a single phone call as a mandate and do take steps to verify any claim.

Take others’ word for it

Look at past customer reviews, Google the name of sellers and check the results for stories of fraud. Consult Better Business Bureau rankings to get a sense of how online and social media-based vendors operate and if you can confidently make a purchase.

Let your credit card shield you

The Fair Credit Billing Act introduced protections for purchasers that have wandered into fraud and scam territory, including the ability to dispute charges.

When in doubt, contact your bank

No matter where you bank, this is good advice. If you bank with FirstBank, we encourage you to contact us right away if you see suspicious activity in your account or if something doesn’t feel right when accessing your account online. For more information, visit our security and privacy page.


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