That Was Risky!

Betesha Ethridge- #BankWithBea

That was Risky- 


Hello friends! I want to take some time to talk to the teens this week. The holidays are right around the corner, and we need to make sure that we are all kept up to date with the latest scams. I want to discuss some of the internet scams that are going on right now. According to Investopedia, teens tend to be inexperienced and more trusting than most age groups when it comes to interactions with others. That combination can make young people vulnerable to scam artists.


Here are a few stats: according to social media investigation service, Social Catfish between 2017 and 2020, people ages 20 and younger had the fastest scam victim growth rate (156%) of all age groups studied. During that time, financial losses to scammers for that age bracket grew from just over $8 million to a whopping $71 million over the three-year period. According to Statista, 95% of teens have access to a smartphone, making them prime targets for scammers. Wow!


Here are the top three  scams targeting our youth- 1. Social Media Scams: Recent pandemic lockdowns have helped create a perfect storm of teen anxiety and scammer opportunity that continues to play out on most of the major social media platforms. Be on the lookout for scams involving identity theft or the stealing of another person’s personal information. Some examples include surveys or contests that request personal information and catfishing in which the scammer poses as someone they are not and befriends the victim with the intention of taking money, personal information or more. I see this happen SO MUCH with customers.


2. Online Shopping Scams: Often, our teens are lured into phony websites that take their money and sell them nothing, lured into providing personal information used for purposes of identity theft or tricked into clicking on links and downloading malware. We live in such a digital age and teens and millennials are also big online spenders for expensive goods. Finding the latest iPhone, designer handbag, or state-of-the-art headphones for a fraction of the retail price sounds too good to be true. The ultimate result is that the bargain-basement-priced goods rarely arrive, or they are knock-offs or counterfeit products pretending to be the real deal.


3. Identity Theft: This scam deserves special mention because it is one of the most prevalent and because social media is only one online area where it appears. Others include websites, email, messaging apps and pop-up windows. A survey by Security.orgfound that 15% of identity theft month 18 to 29 years old occurred versus 8% among those 45 and older.


There are so many more scams that I could mention, and maybe we will spend the next few weeks discussing scams and their target groups. In the meantime, here are some specific steps teens can take: install malware and antivirus software and activate it; use unique passwords for every site you visit; don’t click on links from anyone you don’t know or trust; don’t be embarrassed to tell your parents or a trusted adult if you think you’ve been scammed; check online reviews before visiting a website or making a purchase; never pay to enter a contest, apply for a scholarship, or get a job. Period! Lastly, don’t give out your personal information unless you know you can trust the person you’re giving it to. #bankwithbea