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Scammers See New Opportunities in Defrauding Younger, Less Experienced Age Groups

The BBB’s 2022 Scam Tracker℠ Risk Report found that students were slightly more likely to lose money in a scam than non-students. The report also found that people aged 18-24 reported the highest median dollar loss of all age groups in 2022. The report attributes this to several factors, including students' lack of experience with financial transactions, their tendency to be more trusting of others, and their need for money.

Scams are on the rise for a new age group, 18- to 24-year-olds. The BBB's Pamela Hernandez recently spoke with KRPS's Fred Fletcher-Fierro about why scammers are pivoting from Seniors to college students.

The BBB's Pam and KRPS's Fred chat about the increase in online scam targeting a young demographic

For years, scams targeting seniors were the highest number of reported scams to the Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker.

Scammers have now turned their primary focus to college students between the ages of 18 and 24.

KRPS’s Fred Fletcher-Fierro has more.

Fraud targeting older residents is nothing new. Two of the top senior scams are the Grandparent Scam where fraudsters claim a grandchild is in trouble and the Government imposter scam where someone claiming to work for a well-known government agency attempts to get seniors' personal information.

Recently, the Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker has seen an increase in the number of scams targeting 18-24-year-olds who often have less experience with credit and finances.

Many of them are also trying to navigate new parts of their lives like loans, scholarships, or budgeting. Regional Director of the BBB, Pamela Hernandez in Springfield, Missouri says scammers are wrapping new scams into new names.

“Cryptocurrency is kind of an interesting topic because it’s a new tool into an old scam. So for example an online shopping scam or an investment scam.

There’s more opportunity with folks being online more. But what we’ve seen a lot of is scams we’ve seen for years but it’s another method of payment that you can’t get back, like a wire transfer.”

According to the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book, 11,904 cases of federal student loan fraud were reported in 2022.

The FTC also reported that people under the age of 30 lost nearly $525 million to fraud last year.

Copyright 2023 Four States Public Radio. To see more, visitFour States Public Radio.

Since 2017 Fred Fletcher-Fierro has driven up Highway 171 through thunderstorms, downpours, snow, and ice storms to host KRPS’s Morning Edition. He’s also a daily reporter for the station, covering city government, elections, public safety, arts, entertainment, culture, sports and more. Fred has also spearheaded and overseen a sea change in programming for KRPS from a legacy classical station to one that airs a balance of classical, news, jazz, and cultural programming that better reflects the diverse audience of the Four States. For over two months in the fall of 2022 he worked remotely with NPR staff to relaunch to an NPR style news and information website.

In the fall of 2023 Fred was promoted to Interim General Manager and was appointed GM in Feburary of 2024.