Did you know that teens are now falling prey to online scams even faster than seniors? In 2020, there were over 23,000 online scam complaints from individuals under 21 years old. This suggests that no matter how well-versed you are in technology and the internet, you can still be a victim of online scams. Learn more about these scams and how you can avoid them by checking out the following article!
Common Online Scams Targeting Teens
Reports on online scams have increased by 156% among members of Generation Z. Born in the digital age, teens are more comfortable sharing their whereabouts on various online platforms. However, this makes you vulnerable to the following online scams:
- Romance Scams
- While having fun using various dating apps, you might encounter a romance scammer. They’ll build an intimate relationship with you, but their real goal is to make a hole in your wallet. Usually stationed abroad, they refuse meetups and video calls.
- Fake Online Stores
- While online shopping can be fun and even therapeutic, you might come across fake e-commerce stores that copy the logos and sites of legitimate businesses. These scammers usually offer your favorite items at unreasonably low prices. In the end, you’ll get substandard products — or even nothing at all.
- Employment Scams
- There may be various job opportunities online, but not all of them are real. Scammers will post fake, poorly written ads. They’ll also make you pay up-front fees for training, which no legitimate employers would do.
- Fake Online Contests
- While you may look up to some online influencers, scammers are busy copying these public figures through fraudulent social media accounts. They’ll conduct online contests and giveaways. Once you’re declared a winner, they’ll solicit your bank account details or require you to pay upfront to claim the prize. In reality, you won’t get anything — just a stolen identity.
Avoiding Online Scams: Tips for Teens and Parents
Whether you’re a parent who’s a member of a credit union and still trying to familiarize yourself with online accounts or a teen who’s already tech-savvy, remember the following tips to avoid online scams:
- Check various reviews online before purchasing items from a specific store.
- Choose a strong and unique password for each of your online accounts. Avoid using your nickname, birthdate, or your pet’s name because these can be found on other platforms.
- Never give out your personal and financial details, especially during unexpected calls.
- Look for misspellings and grammatical mistakes in ads, sites, or emails.
- Monitor what you or your child share on social media. Scammers may find some information they can use to commit identity theft.
- Before making a decision, share it with someone you trust, like parents, friends, and other family members. Doing so will help you figure out if you’re being scammed.
- Be suspicious of people asking you to pay advance fees through specific methods, like wire transfer and gift cards.
- If possible, don’t use public Wi-Fi because scammers can find ways to access your sensitive information.
Whether you’re a teen or a senior, you’re not free from the hands of scammers. So, be extra careful and combat scammers by following the tips above.