For many years now, pre-millennial Americans such as myself have been hearing how computer savvy the members of the millennial generation are, how they have grown up with a mouse or a smart phone in their mitts, and what an advantage this gives them in the world that is rapidly evolving into existence.
Well, maybe not.
According to consumer complaint data recently released by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), millennials are 25% more likely to complain to authorities that they have lost money to fraud than consumers aged 40 and over.
“The FTC’s latest Consumer Protection Data Spotlight shows that millennials-those ages 20-39-are twice as likely to report losing money to online shopping fraud than those 40 and over. Online shopping fraud reports include complaints about items that are never delivered or are not as they were advertised. Millennials reported losing $71 million to online shopping fraud-out of the nearly $450 million they reported losing to all types of fraud-in the last two years.”
Online shopping is not the only commercial category where millennials are much more likely to report losing money to fraud than consumers 40 and over. Some of these other transactions include fake check scams, services that promise to fix debt-related issues, or services promising income through jobs, investments, or business opportunities. (For information on how to avoid these scams, visit Consumer.ftc.gov.)
Perhaps the millennials are more trusting of what they see online, precisely because it is such familiar, comfortable territory for them to navigate through.
This is particularly relevant to real estate transactions, which have been targeted by scammers for many years because of the amount of money involved in just one “score.” It is especially important for all consumers to follow the instructions given by their real estate agents, lender representatives, and title company officers, and to make sure that if they are told those instructions have suddenly changed, to double and triple check with all involved before sending money in a different manner than originally instructed.
A healthy sense of skepticism would also be a very good thing to develop!