Nowadays, almost everyone knows how to use the internet. From your grandparents down to your younger siblings, you will likely see them connected for a variety of reasons, mainly communication and entertainment.
But unfortunately, with this technological advancement comes an increased threat of cyber scams. Online scams aren’t really new, as it has been going on for quite some time already. However, the continuous improvement of technology has led cybercriminals to improve their craft once again.
With all the important things we do while using the internet, such as online banking, storing confidential files, and many more, it can deal significant damage once you become a victim. Fortunately, many internet users have become wary of these threats, but a significant portion of the population still falls for these scams—encouraging more and more criminals to commit cyber crimes.
Even if you’ve never figured out how to use a PDF reader or spent your entire life glued to your mobile phone or iPad, you could still fall prey to internet fraud. We’re here to find out; is the digital native generation better prepared to deal with scams than the baby boomer generation?
What the Data Says
Gen Z, or those born from 1997 to 2012, are considered tech-savvy as they grew up along with the digital technology we have right now. This generation is used to using smartphones connected to their home internet.
They are also considered as the most heavily reliant on technology, from ordering food and finding jobs to finding potential partners and communicating with their friends. Considering that they are well-versed in using the internet, it’s almost a no-brainer to assume that they can protect themselves from cyber scams.
On the other hand, Baby Boomers, or those born from 1946 to 1964, are not as familiar with the new technology we have right now. During their time, they don’t have these fancy phones and an internet provider that delivers speedy internet, making it harder for them to grasp the technology we have right now. But does that mean they’re more vulnerable to cyber fraud? The data seems to suggest otherwise.
According to a report by Social Catfish, Zoomers are rapidly becoming the most common victims of cybercrime. The number of victims of cyber fraud among Generation Z has increased by 156 percent over the previous three years, although it has only increased by 112 percent among Baby Boomers. It is likely due to the fact that frauds are becoming increasingly sophisticated and convincing in order to target various groups.
Common Types of Cyber Scams These Generations Fall for
With the continuously advancing online fraud, many people have been falling for it. Here are some of the most common cyber scams you should look out for:
- Shopping Scams:
With the growth of online shopping comes the growth of fake online shopping sites. These sites are intended to encourage you to input your credit card information to charge you money and then never send the items you checked out.
- Employment Scams:
Job scams are usually those that ask you to pay for hiring fees or training fees. Some fraudsters may even take it to the next level by saying they will reimburse you after your training period, just to encourage you to go for it.
- Phishing Scams:
Phishing scams are the legendary online fraud that’s widespread all over the world. It sends you emails or texts that look real, notifying you of suspicious bank activity. Many phishing scams have already infiltrated many websites.
- Public Wi-Fi Scams:
Public Wi-Fi scams happen when you connect to public Wi-Fi. Once connected, it will leak your information to scammers. You may suddenly receive various texts from random numbers with spam messages.
- Lawsuit Scams:
Lawsuit scams are common in the United States. Someone will call you and pretend they are from IRS. They will tell you different things, but one of the most used is that you are being sued for failing to pay taxes. You will notice how these impersonators will try to fish information from you, so always be wary. They can even give you their fake badge number or ID number to make more things look legitimate.
Ways to Protect Yourself from Cyber Scams
You should take precautions to protect yourself online, even if you feel safe and secure. The following are some easy steps you may take to prevent yourself from being a victim of fraud:
Get a VPN
A virtual private network or VPN is software that’s designed to encrypt all your online activities. When your online data is fully encrypted, cybercriminals will have a hard time retrieving your personal information, preventing them from using this private information against you. To learn more about how VPNs work and the benefits they provide, you can explore comprehensive online resources and guides on the topic.
Always be wary of what you see online.
It’s always an excellent habit to double-check everything you see and do online, from website URLs to the sender of the email you just received. If you receive a call from your bank or other relevant organizations, make sure that these numbers are listed on their websites or pages.
Don’t give out your personal information unless you are 100% sure.
When it comes to your phone, email, credit card number, and other confidential information, always be cautious when sharing them. Don’t disclose them easily, especially if you’re just having a conversation with a person via phone where you can’t really tell if they are legit or not. When visiting sites, also check the URL bar and see if it has a small padlock, as this indicates that a site is secure.
Avoid too good to be true deals.
As tempting as it looks, never fall for this common method of cyber scams. For example, you’ve received a notification saying you’ve won $2,000,000. How can you win something when you didn’t even join any raffle or contests? We can’t stress this enough, but avoid them at all costs.
Even though the data suggests that Gen Z is more prone to cyber scams than Baby Boomers, we all have to be careful. We need to strengthen our online protection and security to prevent dealing with these sophisticated online scams.