We often hear of the elderly being targeted for financial scams, with official crime figures showing that an older person in England and Wales becomes a victim of fraud every 40 seconds*.
However, new research has revealed that young people are increasingly falling victim to scams too, after seeking financial advice and investment opportunities online.
Recent data released by UK Finance** revealed that there were just shy of 3m fraud cases in the UK last year and that people aged between 18-34 were twice as likely to fall victim to online scams than those aged 55 plus. This has been attributed to the fact that 80% of these scams started online, and young people are far more active in the online world than their older peers.
At Finura, we wholeheartedly support educating young people about their finances from a young age and, on the plus side, it is encouraging to read that so many young people are engaging with financial resources online to help them manage their money. However, fraudsters are becoming increasingly aware of how much time young people spend online and are using websites and social media channels to exploit this.
Popular platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and TikTok are being used as vehicles to host a wide range of scams, from promoting get-rich-quick schemes to stealing people’s identity. With a constant flow of celebrities and influencers endorsing certain brands and good causes online, in some cases, unbeknown to younger audiences, these endorsements have been faked. Others who claim to be so-called experts in managing and making money, are often anything but.
A very popular area for scams is charity fraud, particularly following recent disasters such as the Ukraine war and the Turkey/Syria earthquake. Scammers have been found to replicate legitimate charities’ websites so that any donated funds are actually being paid directly to criminals.
Another common scam is fake brand collaboration requests, where young people are offered paid work to promote certain products. It may seem like a great opportunity for a brand to pay you to promote their products, as they would in the case of a genuine collaboration offer, yet with ‘DM to collab’ scams users are required to buy goods at a ‘discounted’ rate or pay inflated postage costs, sometimes paying for products that don’t even exist.
Our view is that education is everything, helping young people to apply their learning to all areas of their lives, finances included, and to take steps to protect themselves when sharing information online.
If you think someone you know has been a victim of fraud, please ask them to report it to their bank immediately as well as the police and Action Fraud with all the information they have.
If you have children who you think would benefit from some in-person financial advice, please contact us here and we would be happy to help.
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Sources: * https://www.ageuk.org.uk/latest-press/articles/2019/july/older-person-becomes-fraud-victim-every-40-seconds/
Written 27th July 2023.
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