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Click, Scam, Wham! Gen Z Gets Scammed More Than Boomer Grandparents Do

online scams, Gen Z, phishing, cyber security, cyber crime

Even the most tech-savvy generation, Gen Z, isn’t immune to online scams. Born into the digital age, they find themselves targeted or even falling victim to cyber scams more often than their tech-averse grandparents. A recent Deloitte survey confirms that Gen Z faces a higher frequency of hacks and scams, shedding light on the ever-evolving cyber landscape.

Higher Rates of Victimization

When it comes to falling prey to phishing, identity theft, romance scams, and cyberbullying, younger generations are bearing the brunt. Gen Z, in particular, has reported significantly higher rates of victimization compared to older generations.

Gen Z vs. Boomers: Scam Statistics

According to the Deloitte survey, Gen Z Americans were three times more likely to be ensnared in an online scam than their boomer counterparts. A staggering 16 percent of Gen Z-ers admitted to being victims of online scams, while only 5 percent of boomers reported falling for such schemes. Moreover, Gen Z was twice as likely to have their social media accounts hacked, with 17 percent being affected compared to 8 percent of boomers. Location information misuse was also disproportionately prevalent among Gen Z, with 14 percent reporting this issue, the highest among all generations.

Soaring Costs of Scams

The consequences of falling for these scams extend beyond emotional distress. The financial toll is surging for younger individuals. Social Catfish’s 2023 report on online scams revealed that victims under 20 years old lost an estimated $8.2 million in 2017, a figure that skyrocketed to a staggering $210 million in 2022. As young people increasingly find themselves entangled in the web of deception, the price they pay is escalating.

Expert Insights: Scott Debb’s Observations

Scott Debb, an associate professor of psychology at Norfolk State University, sheds light on the subject. Having extensively studied the cybersecurity habits of younger Americans, Debb notes, “People that are digital natives for the most part, they’re aware of these things.”

Millennials vs Gen Z: A Study on Online Safety Behaviors

A 2020 study published in the International Journal of Cybersecurity Intelligence and Cybercrime involved Debb and a team of researchers comparing the self-reported online safety behaviors of millennials and Gen Z – the two generations deemed as “digitally native”. Although Gen Z showcased a high awareness of online security, they lagged behind millennials when it came to implementing crucial cybersecurity best practices in their own lives. 

This lack of implementation could lead to an increased risk of data breaches and identity theft. Gen Zers need to receive more education on the importance of cybersecurity and how to do it properly. Additionally, companies should create policies to ensure Gen Zers are well-informed on cybersecurity issues.

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