ST. LOUIS – A new study has found that Missouri makes the top ten list for the number of people getting ripped off by scams. The state fell at number seven with victims losing more than $115 million in 2020.
Millennials and those even younger spend a lot of time with their faces buried in these phones and scrolling on social media, and it’s starting to cost them.
According to the study, victims 20 and under increased by 156 percent from 2017 to 2020. That growth surpassed that of seniors who are often targeted for scams. Experts said the scammers are going after younger people while they date and shop online.
Some examples include fake jobs, fake social media pages, fake people online dating, and fake online retailers.
The pandemic sent people searching for jobs. They looked online and saw jobs claiming they could work from home and make a lot of money. They just needed to send money for training. The fake job then had that person’s information during the application process and then that person’s identity is stolen.
Other times scammers will make fake accounts pretending to be a social media star. The scam account will have a fake contest and then ask the winner to pay a fee or give up their bank information in order to get the prize.
Another scam being seen more often is a catfish. Scammers make a fake page using an attractive person’s picture and then chat with the victim until they begin to trust the scammer or even fall in love. Then. all of a sudden, the catfish needs money.
Sometimes scammers will start communicating with a victim on a sexual site. The scammer will send a picture to the victim and then ask the victim for one in return. The next thing you know, the scammer is threatening to expose the victim’s nudes unless they send the scammer cash.
Lastly, fake online shopping websites are becoming more popular. This is simply a scammer acting like he or she is selling you something. The victim buys it, never get it, and the scammer keeps the cash and your information.
Also, be wary of any job too good to be true or asks you for MONEY prior to beginning. Never provide information or bank accounts until you’ve investigated the company. Never send money or bank information to anyone you do not know. Never give money to anyone you meet online. If they will not video chat or meet, they are a scammer. Avoid sending explicit images online or by phone. If the person you are falling for will not meet or video chat, think twice before sending anything. Make sure a website is not full of typos. If the customer service email is “gmail.com” or “yahoo.com” that is a red flag.