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Half of young adults targeted by fraud scams monthly

Average of €228 lost to scammers among 18-24-year olds: FraudSMART Survey

Tuesday, 4th June 2019. A new FraudSMART survey from Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) reveals that almost half (47%) of young adults aged 18-24-years old say they have been the target of attempted fraud on a monthly basis or more often. Among those are 16% who say they have been targeted weekly and 7% targeted daily by fraudsters.

Among 18-24-year olds who said they had money stolen in the past, the average sum lost to fraud scams amounted to €228, enough to help cover a week’s rent in central Dublin, buy groceries for the month or pay for a bigger ticket item such as entry to Electric Picnic.

Just one in three young adults (30%) realised that their money was missing, or personal data had been stolen within 24 hours of the incident, while a further 30% noticed within the week. Worryingly, one in every five (20%) said they were unaware of the fraud for more than a year.

When asked to recall how someone had attempted to obtain bank or personal details in the past twelve months for fraudulent purposes, almost one-third (31%) of young people surveyed said they were targeted via email, one-quarter (26%) via calls to their mobile phone, and a further one in five (22%) by text message. Just 5% had been targeted via card skimming.

The figures come as BPFI’s FraudSMART initiative urges young people to be vigilant to the threat of attempted fraud, particularly during the summer months when looking for seasonal and temporary work. The survey revealed that one in ten (10%) targeted by fraudsters had been contacted through classified advertisements, double the rate of all age groups surveyed and almost on a par with attempts to defraud young adults via social media channels (at 12%).

Niamh Davenport, who leads the BPFI FraudSMART programme, said: “Fraudsters know that classified ads attract young people looking for part-time and casual work in exchange for cash, especially over the summer with people earning extra money for travel, entertainment and everyday living costs. False ads that trick young people into transferring money, handing over card details or other personal information can pop up while browsing online, show up in a social network feed, be sent by email or posted in a public place such as a community noticeboard. If the offer looks too good to be true, it probably is. When it comes to being fraud smart, we’re urging young people to challenge what they see and check with someone they trust before signing up for more than they bargained for.”

Reactions to Fraud

Young adults who experienced attempts to defraud them were almost three times as likely to tell family and friends about what had happened (39%) than to report the incident to their bank or the Gardai (14%). However, more than one in five (21%) said they did nothing at all or decided not to tell anyone because they are “so used to scams happening” or they “felt foolish for being targeted” in the first place.

Changing Behaviour

When it comes to protecting themselves online from fraud, young people said that revealing less personal information about themselves online (cited by 51% of respondents), only accepting friend requests from people they know (41%) and restricting who can view their social media accounts (38%) were among the things they have changed in recent years. However, just one in five (22%) said they now avoid using public wi-fi, and fewer still (18%) regularly change their passwords on online accounts.

When out and about, half of young people (51%) said they make sure to cover their PIN and check for shoulder surfers in order to protect against fraud. That said, only one in three (31%) no longer let their bank card out of their sight when paying in bars and restaurants, while just 13% had stopped letting friends and family borrow their ATM card.

Niamh Davenport, who leads the BPFI FraudSMART programme, said: “Our FraudSMART research shows that fraud and attempted fraud is having an impact on how young adults behave, with some people making simple changes for the better. But if you’re among the one in four young adults who have not taken any new measures to protect yourself, then this is the year to re-set your passwords, think twice about signing up for that free trial and share your suspicions with someone you trust.”