Recent findings by Deloitte have shown an alarming trend: Generation Z, those aged 14 to 26, are three times more susceptible to online scams than Baby Boomers, who range between 58 and 76 years.
In today’s digital age, where technology feels like an extension of oneself, the study emphasizes that being tech-savvy doesn’t necessarily mean being safe online. A significant 16% of Gen Z Americans admitted to being deceived by online scams, which sharply contrasts with the mere 5% of Baby Boomers who faced the same fate.
But the threat isn’t limited to scams alone.
Gen Z individuals are over twice as prone to getting their social media profiles hacked; 17% have encountered such breaches, a number almost double that of the 8% of Baby Boomers. Moreover, 14% of Gen Z individuals disclosed misuse of their location data, a concerning percentage that outdoes other age groups.
The Double-Edged Sword of Digital Familiarity
Labelled as ‘digital natives,’ Gen Z was raised in an era dominated by the internet, making them inherently tech-comfortable. Yet, this ease might sometimes cause them to lean towards convenience rather than security, unintentionally making them easy targets for cyber threats.
Tanneasha Gordon, a senior figure at Deloitte, noted that Gen Z’s frequent online shopping habits provide a fertile ground for scammers.
“The sheer volume of deceptive websites and e-commerce platforms designed specifically for them can easily redirect them from genuine social media sites through misleading ads,” she cautioned.
The repercussions of these scams are far from minor. A report by Social Catfish on online fraud indicates that individuals below 20 lost an astonishing $210 million to scams last year, a figure dramatically up from $8.2 million in 2017.
As scam-associated losses soared, reaching a whopping $10.3 billion in 2022, it’s evident that combating cybercrime demands heightened vigilance across all age brackets. The continuous evolution and expansion of scams make the security of our digital engagements an utmost priority.