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Gen Zers and Millennials: Targets of Fraud

By: Dr. Thamara Barthelus

In today’s uncertain economy fraud is proliferating. 邪恶的掠夺者将经济危机视为一个机会,将他们的欺骗之网撒向脆弱的受害者海洋. Among those most affected are young people.

Recent research indicate Gen Zers, i.e., those aged 18−24 years, have become hot targets for scams. According to the Federal Trade Commission, young people report losing money to fraud more often than adults do. While much focus has been placed on the elderly, 最近的数据让比较好的网赌软件意识到年轻人在经济上受害的现实. A recent study indicated that 43% of people in their 20s reported a loss to fraud, while only 15% of people in their 70s did (Witt, 2019). Although “digital natives” consider themselves tech savvy, 他们更愿意毫不犹豫地在网上分享自己的个人信息. BBB的ScamTracker风险报告强调了这一问题的严重性.6% of college students suffered a financial loss when approached by scammers.

那么,骗子们针对z世代和千禧一代设置了哪些计划和陷阱呢? According to a survey conducted by FraudSmart (2019), young adults aged 18−24 were targeted in the following manner:

  • 31% were targeted via email
  • 26% were targeted via calls to their mobile phone
  • 22% were targeted by a text message
  • 12% were targeted on social media
  • 5% had been targeted via card skimming

Below are the TOP 10 scams used to defraud young adults:

  1. Social Media Phishing: 骗子冒充银行或学校等可靠来源发送私人信息. 其目的是诱使受害者输入他们的个人或财务信息,试图窃取他们的信息.
  1. Gift Card Scams: 这种类型的骗局中最常见的是骗子声称未付的账单目前已经逾期,必须通过电话支付,否则将迅速采取法律行动. 虽然有些人会要求汇款,但其他人更喜欢把欠款放在礼品卡上. The most popular cards requested are Google Play, iTunes, Amazon, and Best Buy. 有些骗子甚至更大胆,他们会把受害者引向他们附近的特定商店, such as CVS, Walmart, Walgreens, or Target. Once the card is purchased, the scammer will request the gift card number and pin. After receipt, the caller accesses the funds and ends the call.
  2. Online Romance Scams: Referred to as the “419” scam, it has allowed fraudsters to acquire millions from their victims, who are typically found via dating sites and chat rooms. Once they have identified a victim, 他们发展了一种情感关系,导致受害者给施暴者寄钱,以支付他去看望受害者的费用. Although the funds are sent, the visit never takes place. 犯罪者对失败的旅行给出了一些合理的解释,并继续要求资金,直到受害者破产为止. Realizing this, the fraudster moves on to his next victim.
  1. Scholarship & Grant Scam: 越来越多的学生接受高等教育,这为骗子创造了新的诈骗机会,他们伪造奖学金,并要求提供个人和财务信息, resulting in identity fraud. Some sites also request a processing fee.
  2. Fake Sweepstakes & Contests: 在这种骗局下,骗子让受害者相信他们是比赛/抽奖的赢家. 然后,他们需要支付一定数额的奖金或提供个人信息.
  3. Instant Cash Schemes: Get-rich-quick schemes are proliferating on SnapChat, Instagram, Facebook, and other social media platforms. They appear as pop-ups. Once clicked, the perpetrators convince the individual to enter his/her banking information, allowing them to withdraw funds from the victim’s account. 
  1. Online Shopping Scams: When using this scheme, 欺诈者创建一个虚假的网上商店,以折扣出售流行品牌产品. 在购买后,受害者收到的要么是低质量的产品,要么是什么都没有.
  1. Employment Schemes当前位置越来越多的骗子在Craigslist和Facebook等社交媒体平台上发布“在家工作”的招聘广告, targeting college students and graduates in need of extra cash. Such jobs are presented as an opportunity of a lifetime, urging the victim to act fast to secure the position, 通常是通过预付费用和/或提供个人和银行信息. 一旦收到受害者的信息,骗子就可以利用受害者的信息进行身份欺诈. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has identified 10 ways to recognize a job scam. To find a legitimate job:
    1. Use reputable websites
    2. Stick to jobs you have researched and have applied for
    3. 通过商业改善局的网站研究每个企业的合法性
  1. Fake Checks: While there are several variations to this scam, 大学生最常见的目标是找室友或找工作. In the case of the college roommate, a security deposit will be mailed for greater than the amount required. 受害者被要求存入支票,并将剩余金额寄给未来的租客. 不幸的是,在取出资金后,支票被银行退回为无效. The same concept applies for employment. The victim is mailed a paycheck or payment for purchasing supplies. Again, the check is an overpayment for which the scammer requests the difference. This often leaves the victim with an overdrawn account. 
  1. COVID-19 Phishing Scam当前的目标是通过从大学的“财务部门”发送一封有关经济刺激支票的电子邮件来窃取学生身份. To obtain funds, the student is asked to enter personal information, which will result in identity theft.

How to Avoid Scams

  1. Keep Personal Information Safe: 避免把你的个人信息透露给不熟悉的来电者或公司. If the caller claims to represent a particular company, research the company and call the number linked to the company, not the one provided to you by the caller.
  2. Avoid Paying Unfamiliar Debt Upon Request: 如果你对一张钞票不熟悉,不要让骗子强迫你相信它的存在. 一个重要的危险信号是,如果不立即偿还债务,就有可能立即采取法律行动. Do not allow yourself to be bullied by scammers.
  3. Hide Your Passwords: Do not share your password with anyone.
  4. Avoid Providing Passwords: Legitimate companies will never ask for your password. This includes tech support. 如果您收到一封带有要求您提供个人信息或密码链接的电子邮件, consider that a red flag.
  5. Do Your Research: Look for online reviews of companies you are unfamiliar with. 这可以通过在商业改善局(BBB)网站上输入公司名称来完成 You can also search the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) site for scam alerts.

What to do If You’re a Victim of Fraud

Many victims of fraud do not report scams or identity theft due to embarrassment. Always remember, fraudsters are very savvy. 他们不断开发新的方法来骗取诚实的人的血汗钱. Even the most knowledgeable and well-informed individuals can become victims. If you find yourself in this frustrating dilemma, there are steps to take to ensure that you do not become a victim twice.

  1. File a Police Report: Since fraud is a crime, it must be filed with law enforcement. Once filed, keep a copy of the police report. You will need the case number when contacting the credit bureaus.
  2. Contact Your Financial Institution: Notify your bank that you are victim of fraud. An alert will be placed on your account. You may be asked to verify the last cleared and pending transactions made by you.
  3. Contact Credit Card Companies: As federal law limits your responsibility for fraudulent transactions, reporting the loss as soon as possible is highly recommended. If the company is notified prior to fraudulent transactions clearing your account, you will not be responsible for the transactions. Even if reported after transactions have accrued, you can only be held responsible for $50 of the charges.
  4. Notify the 3 Credit Bureaus: Request that an alert be placed on your credit report using the following links:,, and
  1. File a Complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC): Use the link or call 1-877-FTC-HELP
  2. Document Your Actions: Create a file of all the correspondence you had with each entity notified. It may be valuable information needed later.
  3. Order a Copy of Your Credit Report: After placing an alert, review a copy of each credit report.
  4. Change Online Passwords & Pins: Be sure to create challenging passwords. 有一些产品可以帮助你创建难以破解的密码.

Where to Report Scams

To report scams, start with the Consumer Protection Office in your state. Once the federal government has become aware, it will begin tracking fraud patterns and notify the public. Specific scams can be reported to the following agencies.

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

  • Fake Checks
  • Computer Scams
  • Scholarship/Student Loan
  • Sweepstakes
  • Phone Calls
  • Emails
  • Imposter Scams

Website:  FTC Complaint | Phone: 1-877-382-4357

IRS Scams

  • Robocalls
  • Threats of Arrest or Lawsuits
  • Demands for Payment

Website: Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) | Phone: 1-800-366-4484

Social Security Scams

  • Suspension of your social security number
  • Cancellation of your social security benefits

Website: Inspector General | Phone: 800-269-0271


Baxter, L. (2017, July 27), Who is most susceptible to scams? Retrieved from–who-is-most-susceptible-to-scams-.html

Beware the fake check scam targeting college students. (2020, February, 4.). Retrieved from

Bryne, H. (2019, July 5). Half of young adults are targeted by fraud scams each month. Retrieved from

Witt, P. (2019, February, 28). The top frauds of 2018. Retrieved from