SAN ANTONIO – If your image of a scam victim is a little old grandma, it's time to rethink. New research by the Better Business Bureau Institute for Marketplace Trust found that millennials — the youngest adults — are more likely to be roped in and ripped off.
A survey of more than 2,000 people found that 69 percent of scam victims are under the age of 45.
Digging deeper into 30,000 scams reported to the Better Business Bureau, the analysis found 89 percent of seniors recognized the scam in time. Only 11 percent lost their money. But 34 percent young adults reported losing their money to the con artist.
The researchers said seniors have heard the warnings for years and have become more savvy about scams. Young millennials, on the other hand, tend to suffer from what is termed optimism bias.
"That's the perception that 'I am less likely to fall victim to a negative event. It won't happen to me,'" said Miguel Segura, Better Business Bureau regional director.
Younger people may also tend to zone out to over-warnings. Technology can also be a factor.
"Scammers are so evolved in technology that they will target the younger generation through social media, email and their cellphones," Segura said.
The stereotypical scam victim is also often perceived as being poorly educated. That’s not true, according to the study. It found that 78 percent of victims had a college or a postgraduate degree.
With nearly one in five homes falling victim to various scams, Segura said the message to take away from the study is: “Anyone is at risk.”