Washington Teens Fall Faster to Online Scams Than Seniors

My 82 year old mother was the recent victim of a scam. The baddies were so good and convincing at what they did. Even though my sister and I pleaded with our mom that the “42 million dollar prize” was fake, she fell for it anyway - losing a big sum of money. 

My mom falling for a scam made sense to me. She and her aging peers seem to be (and are) the #1 vulnerable age group. 

I was surprised to learn that as of last fall (October of 2022,) American teens outpaced senior citizens for new cases of online fraud. 

Keep in mind, senior citizens are still the biggest losers to fraud, in terms of overall dollar amount.  But overconfident teens are surprisingly losing money at an alarming rate.

Since 2017, victims of fraud for Americans under the age of 20 - jumped up at an rate of 1125% Compare that number with the figure of the increase of 390% for America’s senior citizens, getting scammed in that same five year period.

-Social Catfish

How much money was lost to corrupt online criminals?

In 2017: 

Our nation’s under 20 year-olds lost $8.2 million.

By 2022:

Under 20s lost a staggering $101.4 million. Wow.

What can we do to give our kids some knowledge to help protect them moving forward? What are the scams that our youth are wary of? 

The watchdog company mentioned above, Social Catfish, has a mission to arm kids with knowledge that prevents future fraud.


The Four Areas that Teens are Stumbling with Include: 

Fake College School Loan Forgiveness programs

A simple way to find out if a loan forgiveness program is legit, is to google the organization. Find out if anyone has reported that the said company was scamming individuals. Social Catfish provides the "reverse lookup to search and verify identities"


A disturbingly popular way criminals get money from teenage males is: A fake profile will ask the victim for a nude pic - in exchange for their nude pic. Once a victim sends a photo, they are told to send a sum of money or their pic will be released online  to their friends and family.

On-line-gamer "Tips"

The gamers are asked for their bank information - to make online purchases, all with the promise of succeeding or getting an edge to win.

Fake Modeling and Talent Scout companies

There is a huge wave of criminals sliding into your teens DM's. This is happening on Tik Tok and Instagram - with fake promises of getting discovered by modeling and acting scouts. Google the scout company's name or use the Social Catfish search engine to see if there are legit or fraudulent. 

An important piece of advice is that teens (or anyone else) should never give out personal information to anyone they don’t know, no matter how big or seductive the promises might be.

To take a deeper dive, check out the story from our friends at KOMO 4 News (From October of 2022.)

INFO SOURCE: Social Catfish, KOMO 4 News

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