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Personal Finance

New survey reveals almost half of young adults have been targeted by fraud scams

Daragh Cassidy

Daragh Cassidy

Head Writer

The results of a survey today from the Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) reveal that almost half (47%) of young adults say they’ve been targeted by fraud scams.

It seems everywhere you go these days there are people trying to scam you out of your money. Whether it’s dodgy emails from a Nigerian prince, missed calls from random foreign numbers, or text messages asking you to click on dubious links, it seems like no one is safe from attempted fraud.

And yet when we think about the victims of attempted fraud we tend to associate it with an older generation. However, according to the results of a new survey today by the BPFI, the younger generation are just as likely to be targeted. In fact, 47% of young adults aged 18-24 say they’ve been the target of attempted fraud on a monthly basis or more often.       

Fraudsters targeting young adults in numerous ways

When asked to recall how someone had attempted to obtain bank or personal details from them in the past 12 months for fraudulent purposes, numerous examples were given. 

  • 31% of young people surveyed said they were targeted via email
  • 26% had been targeted via calls to their mobile phone
  • 22% had been targeted by text message
  • 12% had been targeted through social media channels  
  • 10% had been targeted by fraudsters through classified advertisements, double the rate of all other age groups surveyed
  • Meanwhile, just 5% had been targeted via card skimming

A costly mistake

Among the 18-24 year olds who said they’d had money stolen in the past, the average sum lost to fraud scams amounted to €228, enough to help cover a week’s rent in central Dublin, buy groceries for the month or pay for a bigger ticket item such as entry to Electric Picnic.

Worryingly, just one in three young adults (30%) realised that their money had gone missing, or personal data had been stolen within 24 hours of the incident, while a further 30% noticed within the week. However, one in every five (20%) said they were unaware of the fraud for more than a year!

BPFI’s FraudSMART initiative urges vigilance

Niamh Davenport, who leads the BPFI FraudSMART programme, is urging young adults in particular to be careful this summer when viewing classified ads. 

“Fraudsters know that classified ads attract young people looking for part-time and casual work in exchange for cash, especially over the summer with people earning extra money for travel, entertainment and everyday living costs. False ads that trick young people into transferring money, handing over card details or other personal information can pop up while browsing online, show up in a social network feed, be sent by email or posted in a public place such as a community noticeboard. If the offer looks too good to be true, it probably is. When it comes to being fraud smart, we’re urging young people to challenge what they see and check with someone they trust before signing up for more than they bargained for.”  

Staying fraud smart

When asked how they protect themselves online from fraud, young adults said they had changed their behaviour in several ways in recent years to stay safe.  

  • 51% cited revealing less about themselves online as a main way to stay safe
  • 51% said they make sure to cover their PIN and check for 'shoulder surfers' when using their card  
  • 41% cited only accepting friend requests on social media from people they know
  • 38% cited restricting those who can view their social media accounts
  • 31% said no longer let their bank card out of their sight when paying in bars and restaurants
  • 22% said they avoided using public wifi
  • 18% said they regularly change their passwords on online accounts  
  • 13% had stopped letting friends and family borrow their ATM card

Commenting on the change in behaviour, Niamh says: Our FraudSMART research shows that fraud and attempted fraud is having an impact on how young adults behave, with some people making simple changes for the better. But if you’re among the one in four young adults who have not taken any new measures to protect yourself, then this is the year to re-set your passwords, think twice about signing up for that free trial and share your suspicions with someone you trust.”

How do you stay fraud safe?

Have you been the victim of online fraud over the past year? What measures do you take to stay fraud safe?

Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @bonkers_ie or message us on Facebook.   

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