When it comes to online scams and attacks it’s a common belief that older generations, being less adjusted to the every day use of technology and the associated risks, are much more likely to fall for these tricks – however, figures revealed by Sky News show that under 25s are actually six times more likely to fall victim to social media scams than over 50s.
A recent investigation into the techniques used by scammers on social media found that younger users were frequently falling for get-rich-quick scams, believed to be from having too much confidence and trust in these platforms that they have become so familiar with. An example of one of these scams which is rapidly growing in popularity is ‘money mules’ – a tactic that uses the promise of financial reward to convince targets to launder criminal money through their bank accounts. Most of the time the victims are never given the promised share, and in some cases the fraudsters have even wiped the accounts of the target’s personal money once given access.
Between January and October 2018 there were 30,000 identified money mules within the UK, with a third of these falling in the under 21 age bracket, and around 5,000 younger than 18.
These figures might be surprising, but it’s very likely that this is just the beginning of many malicious campaigns targeted at the younger generation – this is because younger users share much more personal information online than most people, making it a lot easier and quicker for criminals to conduct research on them to create a highly targeted and convincing Phishing attack.
Some tips on avoiding Social Media scams:
- Set your online profiles to private and keep your friends list restricted to people you actually know.
- Always be wary of offers that seem to good to be true or requests for personal information – remember, deals and discounts from legitimate companies should be easy to find and confirm through Google.
- Be conscious of how much personal information you are sharing online, especially details that could be used for identity theft like your phone number, home address or photos of ID.
- Never share your bank details or send money to recent online friends – especially those that you haven’t met in person.