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Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.

Fraud has been an increasingly common crime over the last few years with news outlets reporting daily on a never-ending slew of people sneaking money from this, that and the other, be it fake doctors or dodgy tax arrangements in the world of big business. The traditional view of fraud against individuals is that it’s the vulnerable and the old who get targeted but that, it turns out, is an old fashioned view.

New research shows that millennials (those in their 20s and 30s) are the people most likely to be victims of fraud. Solution Loans, an online loan and finance provider, compiled the data using Freedom of Information (FOI) submissions as well as other sources.

32 UK police forces supplied data which showed that 20% of frauds were committed against those aged 18-29, compared to just 9% of frauds which were targeted at those in the 60-69 age bracket.

When it comes to understanding why millennials are more likely to be the victims of fraud there is a simple answer: the internet. Millennials spend more time online overall than their older peers and are much more likely to be on social media, which is increasingly where fraudsters operate.

Youngsters are attractive targets for fraudsters because they spend so much time online. Fraudsters take advantage of the fact that online they’re not only anonymous but don’t even need to be in the same country as their victims. Online, fraudsters use social media to advertise to potential victims and as way to communicate with those they’ve managed to lure in.

One example of an online fraud scheme is the so-called cash flip scam. This effectively makes the victim an unwitting enabler of money laundering. If caught, the victim can end up in serious legal hot water. Another common online scheme is for the scammer to convince the victim that they know a way to double or triple an amount of money but just need funds. These are supplied by the victim, who is told that they will get their original stake, plus 50% of the profit. Of course, once the money is in the scammer’s bank account they are never heard from again.

To make matters worse, there’s very little chance of the criminals ever being brought to justice. Online criminals are difficult to track and even if perpetrators can be identified, if they live in a different country, extradition can be time consuming and difficult.

Amanda Gillam from Solution Loans said: “Fraud against individuals is a huge problem and one that continues to persist throughout the UK today. When fraud is mentioned too many people think it only happens against big businesses and corporations. Unfortunately, from the figures we’ve secured through our Freedom of Information requests, we can see that simply isn’t the case.”

More information can be about fraud and how to prevent it can be found here on the Solution Loans website.