Members of every generation are victims of scams and fraud but sometimes different generations are targeted with different cons.
The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) has studied this subject and identified the types of fraud that pick and choose their targets largely based on their age. For example, if you are a baby boomer you are most likely to be targeted by investment and other financial scams.
But because this group is most likely to own their home, they are also targets of contractor fraud, losing money to fraudulent roofers and remodelers, who demand upfront payment but then disappear.
Because they are more likely to receive regular health care, baby boomers are often the targets of medical fraud. Because this generation often makes their final arrangements in advance they are more likely to fall victim to scammers posing as funeral homes, collecting money but providing no service when the time comes.
Targeting Gen X
Members of Generation X, often the children of baby boomers, are approaching retirement and trying to make sure they have enough money to stop working someday. ACFE reports this group is most likely to fall victim to credit card and debt relief scams, as well as mortgage relief scams.
Millennials, now the largest generation, often fall victim to scams involving technology, such as online shopping scams and smishing scams, which send fraudulent texts that appear to be from a legitimate source, such as the user’s bank notifying them of suspicious charges.
Law Helie, general manager of the Consumer Banking product line at nCino, a firm providing cloud banking services, says millennials grew up with technology and might be a little too trusting.
“In the millennial space, what we see are people logging into an app, if I get an email that looks legitimate I’m just going to click on it, then I start plugging in my details,” Helie told ConsumerAffairs.
Millennials are more accessible to the bad guys
Jason Ioaniddes, an engineer at Alloy, an identity risk management firm, says trust may play a role. But he says other factors make the generation more vulnerable.
“There may also be a component of accessibility by a bad actor because you can just hit more people in that group through a digital channel because more of them are connected to these kinds of digital services,” he told us. “If you’re sending out spam texts millennials and the group behind it may be more likely to be touched by the scam than older generations.”
Generation Z is another demographic group that has grown up with technology. But a bigger factor, according to the ACFE report, may be education. The group is often targeted by federal student tax scams. And just like millennials, they are often targeted by social media and cybersecurity scams.