Did you know that teens are now falling prey to online scams even faster than seniors? Last year, 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 reading below.
Common Online Scams Targeting Teens
Reports of 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 can also make you vulnerable to the scams listed below.
While using various dating apps, you might encounter a romance scammer. They’ll try to build an intimate online relationship with you, but their real goal is to make a hole in your wallet. Usually stationed abroad, they will often refuse meet-ups and video calls. Be on the lookout for these types of scammers and do not send them any money, gift cards, prepaid cards, or the like. If something feels off – it most likely is.
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 will usually offer your favorite items at unreasonably low prices. In the end, you’ll get substandard products — or nothing at all.
There may be various job opportunities online, but not all of them are real. Scammers have been known to post fake, poorly written ads. They’ll also make you pay up front fees for training, which no legitimate employer would ever do. Don’t fall into this trap!
Bogus Online Contests
While you may follow 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 a nominal fee to claim the prize. In reality, you won’t get anything — other than a stolen identity.
Avoiding Online Scams: Tips for Teens and Parents
Whether you’re still trying to familiarize yourself with online accounts or 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 easily on other platforms.
- Never give out your personal and financial details, especially during unexpected calls.
- Look for misspellings and grammatical mistakes in ads, websites, or emails.
- Monitor what you or your child share on social media. Scammers may find some information in an online profile which they can then 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 P2P payment apps such as Venmo, Cash App, and Zelle, or through wire transfers and gift or prepaid cards.
- When using a person-to-person payment app, only send money to someone who you actually know and trust.
- If possible, don’t use public WiFi because scammers can usually find ways to access sensitive information.
Whether you’re a teen or a senior, you’re not free from the hands of scammers. Be extra careful and combat scammers by following the tips above. Always reach out to us if you suspect any of your First Financial accounts have been compromised due to a scam.
T.H.I.N.K First because There’s Harm In Not Knowing!