Help young people avoid scammers

Think the techy young people in your life are too techy to be scammed? Think again. According to data from the Federal Trade Commission, people in their twenties reported losing money to fraud at a higher rate than people in their seventies. So, if you count yourself an older adult, let’s use your accumulated knowledge this Older American’s Month. Reach out to the young people in your life to help them better spot and avoid scams. But where to start?

The top scams young people reported include impersonator scams (think somebody pretending to be Amazon), job scams (think “amazing” offers to work from home) and investment scams (think cryptocurrency). Start by reminding them that scams take different twists and turns, but, nearly always, a scammer pretends to be someone you trust to trick you into sending money or personal information. Ask if they’ve seen something like these examples on social media, gaming sites, messaging apps, or somewhere else. And remind them: these are scams.

As you talk, here’s some other advice to share:

Don’t respond to unsolicited offers. If you get an out-of-the-blue call, text, or e-mail that seems to come from an online retailer, your bank, credit card, or a payment app, they’re likely phishing scams. Don’t click links. Don’t respond. Hit block and delete.

Never pay someone who promises a job. No honest employer will ever make you pay for a job. They also won’t send you a check and then tell you to buy supplies, pay for training, or something else — and send back whatever money is left. Those are scams.

Don’t believe promises of guaranteed returns or income. There’s no such thing as an investment with little to no risk: not in cryptocurrency or any other investment. But if someone tells you that, you know they’re a scammer.

Finally, if the young people in your life, or you, spot a scam, report it at

By Jim Kreidler, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

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