Gen Z Australia's fastest growing scam victims

Wednesday, 11 March, 2020

Gen Z Australia's fastest growing scam victims

Australians under 25 have surpassed older generations to become the fastest growing group of scam victims, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Last year saw Gen Z lose over $5 million to scams while reports rose 11% from 2018 and 10 percentage points above any other age group to 12,000, the ACCC said.

“Scammers don’t discriminate based on age, and the wide range of scams reported by this age group is concerning,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

“Young people may think they are tech savvy, but scammers are adapting and we expect to see more scams on newer platforms such as Snapchat and TikTok.”

Facebook and Instagram were the most common platforms for reports and losses by under 25s, with typical scams on these platforms involving fake online stores or fake ticket sales, the ACCC said.

Online shopping scams were most common, making up more than 14% of reports and almost 12% of losses among the age group.

“Almost half of the losses to people under 25 occurred through bank transfer but you should also be wary of sellers asking for payment through unusual payment methods such as gift cards or bitcoin,” Rickard said.

“Always try to purchase tickets from authorised sellers and be aware that many links sourced through social media will not be legitimate.”

Social media and email are also being used for sextortion scams, with scammers threatening to share intimate images or footage of targets online unless they meet certain demands.

“In many cases if you receive a sextortion threat from a stranger claiming they have compromising images or video footage of you, these images don’t actually exist, so delete the message. If you are concerned, you can contact the e-Safety Commissioner,” Rickards said.

Online games, such as Fortnite, aren’t scam-free either. Scammers can offer children unlocked achievements or special items in exchange for money or gift card codes and fail to transfer the item.

“By targeting children, scammers could obtain personal and banking information from the individual’s parents,” Rickard said.

“We encourage parents and guardians to ensure children do not share personal or banking details online, and if they think a scammer has gained access to their personal information, contact their financial institution as soon as possible.”

“You should also contact the platform on which you were scammed and inform them of the circumstances surrounding the scam,” Rickard said.

Users can report scams and find information on where to get help and how to protect themselves via Scamwatch.

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