Young Adults Are Less Worried About Financial Fraud, But May Be At Higher Risk

January 23, 2024

Young Americans are less worried about financial fraud than older generations, a recent study found, but the very thing giving them confidence may also be exposing them to more risk.

Just 15% of Gen Z and 20% of millennials say they are concerned about losing money and assets via fraud and other deceptive tactics, according to Bank of America’s Better Money Habits study. By comparison, 27% of Gen X and 27% of baby boomers reported feeling at risk of fraud.

Bank of America’s head of client protection attributes the relative confidence of the younger generations to the way they keep track of their finances. The younger cohort tends to believe that they are at less risk of fraud because they track their balances with online banking apps, and the real-time accessibility allows them to check transactions more closely and quickly recognize fraudulent charges.

However, believing that they can quickly and easily spot fraud may be offering young Americans a false sense of security.

Potential fraudsters are using young adults’ online presence to their advantage. Between 2021 and mid-2023, one in four people who reported losing money to fraud said it started on social media and reported losses on scams on social media during the same period reached a staggering $2.7 billion, according to a recent report from the FTC.

Social media fraud is more likely to hit younger generations. During the first six months of 2023, in reports of money lost to fraud by people aged 20-29, social media was the first point of contact more than 38% of the time. For people aged 18-19, that figure was 47%. The numbers decrease with age, consistent with generational differences in social media use. For those aged 60-69, only 21% of fraud was initiated on social media.

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