Crime and Courts

Here's How Much Money Americans Lose to Online Scammers at Every Age

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Young people are falling victim to online scams at a higher rate than ever before, but older generations are losing the most money to them.

That's according to a report from fraud prevention firm SEON, which analyzed data collected in 2020 by the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center.

SEON's "Gen-Z Fraud Report" found that people younger than 20 had the biggest year-over-year increase in fraud reports between 2019 and 2020. The 23,186 young people who reported fraud represented an 116% increase from the previous year. Their collective losses totaled about $70.98 million, or about $3,000 per person, in 2020.

"The trend is clear in that fraud doesn't discriminate by age, and that being digital-first doesn't make you immune to scams," SEON product evangelist Gergo Varga said in the report.

One thing to keep in mind: While the report showcases some interesting trends, it also says to take the figures "with a pinch of salt," because the FBI's numbers include "businesses as well as individuals, which can suffer much greater losses than the average person."

The next youngest age group, individuals in their 20s, saw a 59% increase between 2019 and 2020, with the 70,791 reported victims losing an average of $2,789 each.

In general, the older the victims, the more money they lost. Those in their 30s lost an average of $5,570 each in 2020, while those in their 40s lost $7,832.

On average, the oldest Americans lost the most money to online fraud. Roughly 105,000 individuals 60 and older reported a combined $966 million in losses, averaging more than $9,100 per person. But it was those in their 50s who had the highest losses, with an average of $9,864 each.

SEON's report speculates that the reason younger people lost less money on average is simply because they have fewer financial assets. It did not suggest they were being targeted more.

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