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While Americans believe that their elderly relatives are most susceptible to scams, Gen Zers actually report being the most frequent victims of scams compared to other generations.

By ScamRipper Feb 10, 2024

Over the course of my tenure as the head of financial crimes and fraud prevention at Citi, and throughout my extensive experience at the FBI spanning more than two decades, I’ve witnessed the evolution of fraudsters’ tactics. However, one constant remains: the pervasive belief that one is immune to being scammed.

A recent survey conducted by Citi reveals that this perception is often misguided. Despite 90% of U.S. adults expressing confidence in their ability to detect financial scams, a significant portion—27%—admit to having been victimized.

Today’s scammers possess agility and utilize sophisticated tools to their advantage. Their operations often prioritize quantity, and it takes just one successful attempt for them to reap significant profits. Consequently, individuals of all ages and demographics are susceptible to falling prey to their schemes.

Nobody is exempt

Despite Citi’s survey indicating that three-quarters of Americans worry about the susceptibility of elderly relatives to scams, it also highlights the vulnerability of digitally savvy generations. Surprisingly, a third of Gen Z participants admit to falling victim to financial scams, surpassing other age groups. Whether this indicates heightened susceptibility among Gen Z or greater awareness of being scammed remains uncertain. What is evident, however, is that fraudsters are honing their skills to target individuals across all digital literacy levels, underscoring the importance of being vigilant and prepared.

To ensure a joyful and fraud-free start to the new year, it’s crucial to maintain vigilance, trust your instincts, and be adept at identifying warning signs. Despite scammers’ ever-evolving tactics, it’s important to be aware of potential threats to your financial well-being:

Beware of individuals claiming to represent your bank’s fraud department, urging you to transfer funds for protection against fraudsters. Never disclose sensitive information like your debit PIN, one-time password, or login details, whether verbally or through electronic communication, even if the request seems legitimate. Remember, your bank will never ask you to transfer funds to rectify a fraudulent transaction.

Exercise caution if you receive communication purportedly from a delivery company regarding an undelivered package associated with recent purchases. Scammers may send emails or texts containing links designed to capture your personal and financial data or infect your device with malware. Refrain from clicking on any links and instead verify the status of your shipment directly through the company’s official website.

Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks, as they increase your susceptibility to hacking attempts by cybercriminals seeking to intercept your online activities and access personal information. Opt for secure, private Wi-Fi networks to mitigate the risk of unauthorized access to your data.

Safeguarding Against Scams

Amidst the prevalence of scams, there’s encouraging news: everyone possesses the ability to reduce their susceptibility. Begin by seeking guidance from reliable sources to equip yourself with knowledge. In a survey, 55% of Americans identified their bank as one of their top three trusted resources for scam prevention information, alongside advice from friends and family (44%) and relying on personal instincts based on past encounters (41%).

Implementing simple measures can significantly bolster your digital security:

  • Utilize face or fingerprint recognition for smartphone and banking app logins to deter unauthorized access.
  • Generate lengthy, unique passwords for each account, as increased length enhances security.
  • Dedicate two minutes daily to scrutinizing your accounts for any signs of fraudulent activity rather than waiting for monthly statements.
  • Activate account alerts and implement two-factor authentication via a trusted device for added protection.

Approach incoming communications with a healthy dose of skepticism, especially those prompting you to click links. Nearly four in 10 scam victims trusted their perpetrators, emphasizing the importance of critical thinking. Be wary of urgent requests or inconsistencies in the sender’s story.

Furthermore, refrain from engaging with unfamiliar contacts. If someone purporting to be from your bank contacts you via text, email, or phone, politely terminate the conversation and verify their identity using the contact details provided on your card or the official website.

Prioritize digital safety by familiarizing yourself with scam tactics, setting up protective measures, and investing time in securing your digital presence. By doing so, you can safeguard yourself and your loved ones from potential financial losses and emotional distress.

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