Consumer Advocate

Sign up for newsletters and other news
Media > Newsletters > Consumer Advocate > June 2022 > Nobody Is Immune: All Generations Susceptible to Scams

Consumer Advocate RSS feeds

Nobody Is Immune: All Generations Susceptible to Scams

News articles and research drive the point home: People of all ages – not just older Ohioans – fall victim to scams, and education and scam awareness are the best tools to prevent it.

“For years now, the Better Business Bureau’s survey research has shown that younger adults lose money to swindlers much more often than the older people you may think of as stereotypical victims,” the New York Times reported in June 2021 in a story that considered all types of fraud and scams. “The Federal Trade Commission reports similar figures, with 44 percent of people ages 20 to 29 losing money to fraud, more than double the 20 percent of people ages 70 to 79.”

CNBC underscored the point months later in the article “Tech-savvy teens falling prey to online scams faster than their grandparents.”

“The number of individuals age 20 or younger – members of Generation Z, who have grown up on smartphones and the internet – reporting they are victims of cyber-fraud has surged 156% over the last three years. … That compares to 112% growth during the same time among people age 60 or older, the group with the next-fastest scam growth.”

A recent study by SEON, a company that offers solutions for preventing online fraud, found that consumers younger than 20 experienced the largest increase in online fraud in 2020 – and by a staggering amount: 116% over the previous year.

But the study also found that older generations remain the most vulnerable to such fraud.

Older adults, for example, lose more money per victim than younger consumers. According to SEON, fraud victims in their 20s lost a combined $197 million (an average of $2,789 per victim), victims in their 50s lost $848 million ($9,864 per victim), and victims 60 and older lost more than $966 million ($9,174 per victim).  

To help spot a scam, look for these red flags:
  • You’re asked to wire money or send a gift card to a stranger.
  • You’ve won a contest you’ve never heard of or entered.
  • You’re pressured to “Act now!”
  • You have to pay a fee to receive your prize.
  • Your personal information is requested.
  • A large down payment is requested.
  • The company refuses to provide any information in writing.
  • You’re asked to keep conversations a secret.
  • You’re guaranteed to make money.
The various studies and articles about scams reinforce the importance of educating consumers of all ages. By identifying how to spot scams and sharing the experiences of those who have fallen victim to con artists, the Attorney General’s Office and its partners can ensure that Ohioans are prepared to resist scammers who are determined to steal their personal information and money.

If you suspect a scam or have problems you can’t resolve on your own, contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at or 800-282-0515.