Australians under 25 lost over $5 million to scams in 2019 and reports made from this age group are increasing faster than older generations.
In 2019, around 12,000 (7.15 per cent) reports made to Scamwatch were from people under the age of 25, an increase of 11 per cent compared to 2018 figures. Reports from this age group increased by 10 percentage points more than any other age group.
“Scammers don’t discriminate based on age and the wide-range of scams reported by this age group is concerning,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.
“Young people may think they are tech savvy, but scammers are adapting and we expect to see more scams on newer platforms such as Snapchat and TikTok.”
Facebook and Instagram were the most common platforms for reports and losses by those under 25, with typical scams on these platforms involving fake online stores or the sale of fake tickets to events.
Online shopping scams were the most common scams, making up more than 14 per cent of reports and almost 12 per cent of losses among people under 25.
“Almost half of the losses to people under 25 occurred through bank transfer but you should also be wary of sellers asking for payment through unusual payment methods such as gift cards or bitcoin,” Ms Rickard said.
“Always try to purchase tickets from authorised sellers and be aware that many links sourced through social media will not be legitimate.”
Additionally, scammers are using social media platforms and email as forums for sextortion scams, where they threaten to share intimate images or footage of you online, unless you give in to their demands.
“In many cases if you receive a sextortion threat from a stranger claiming they have compromising images or video footage of you, these images don’t actually exist, so delete the message. If you are concerned, you can contact the e-Safety Commissioner,” Ms Rickard said.
Scammers can also target children who play online video games, such as Fortnite, by offering unlocked achievements or special items in exchange for money or gift card codes without ever transferring the item.
“By targeting children, scammers could obtain personal and banking information from the individual’s parents,” Ms Rickard said.
“We encourage parents and guardians to ensure children do not share personal or banking details online, and if they think a scammer has gained access to their personal information contact their financial institution as soon as possible.”
“You should also contact the platform on which you were scammed and inform them of the circumstances surrounding the scam,” Ms Rickard said.
How to report scams on digital platforms:
To report a post, Facebook advises users to click on the top right of the post, and then select either ‘Report post’ or ‘Report photo’. They then have to select the option that best describes the scam, and follow the rest of the onscreen instructions.
To report a profile, Facebook suggests that a user clicks and selects ‘Report’ on the bottom right of the suspicious profile’s cover photo, and then follow the instructions onscreen.
To report a post, Instagram advises users to tap the three dots above the post, and select ‘Report’. Select the option that best describes the post and follow the onscreen instructions.
To report a profile, Instagram advises users to tap on the three dots in the top right of the profile and select ‘Report’. Select the option that best describes the profile and follow the onscreen instructions.
Users can report another account by pressing and holding that Snapchatter’s name, tapping ‘More’, then tapping ‘Report’.
To report a snap or story on the platform, users can press and hold on the snap or story until the white flag icon appears. They can then select this icon to Report to Snapchat.
To report a suspicious account, users can click on said profile, tap the ‘Settings’ icon, tap ‘Report’, then follow the prompts.
To report a video, the user can open the video and tap the ‘Share’ icon, then tap ‘Report’ and follow the prompts.
To report a comment, the user can tap the comment that they’d like to report, click ‘Report’ and follow the prompts.
To report a message received, a user can open the conversation and tap the ‘Share’ icon, then tap ‘Report’ and follow the steps in the app.