As Canadian Fraud News mentioned in a previous publication (Blaming the victims article) everybody can fall for a fraud scam. But there are specific types of fraud victims that keep appearing in news articles. Think about the over-confident educated middle-aged males and digital-illiterate and credulous seniors. Who are the people in these target groups and why are they mainly victimized by scams?
In this miniseries we will study every type individually, define the characteristics and discuss their weak spots. Today we will talk about fraud victim type 2: Heavy technology users known as millennials or generation Y.
Heavy technology and mobile users
Recent study in March by Equifax showed that millennials are increasingly the ideal target for fraudsters and organized crime syndicates (read more). That has to do with how they rely heavily on technology for their day-to-day activities, like online banking or shopping.
This study from Facebook confirms the heavy mobile using of millennials. Almost 50% of the generation prefers mobile banking over going to the branch or using their computers:
Members of Generation Y believe texts or emails with headings such as “opportunity to work from home for $1,000 a day or free downloadable ring tones.” The generation just automatically clicks.
Equifax’s findings were somewhat consistent with a 2014 U.S. Federal Trade Commission study which found that people between the ages of 20 and 29 years old were most likely to report identify theft, representing a fifth of complainants across all age demographics (read more).
Another reason why the younger generation is likely to get scammed is their so called optimism bias – the idea that we all think other people are more vulnerable than we are (read more).
Characteristics of the fraud victim type
Millennials grew up in an electronics-filled and increasingly online and socially-networked world.
- Born between 1977 and 2000.
- Generally comfortable with the idea of a public Internet life
- Share sensitive information online
- Use public and unsecure complementary Wi-Fi
- Buy things online with their mobile phones
- Guiding morality that they are just able to feel what is right (source)
- Optimism bias: risk-taking and failure to heed precautionary advice
Equifax advises millennials to ‘Be less ‘Social’ within their Networks and don’t over share’. Tech-savvy thieves can quickly gather personal information that you share on social networks to use for scams, phishing, and account theft. It is also smart to ‘click with caution’ and only enter information on secure web pages that say ‘https’ in the address bar and have a padlock symbol.