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Crime

Millennials scammed out of more money than their grandparents

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 March, 2018, 4:13am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 March, 2018, 5:04am

Move over, grandma and grandpa. Your Millennial grandkids reported losing money to financial scams last year more than you did, new government data shows.

In all, 40 per cent of Americans in their twenties who reported fraud in 2017 indicated they lost money to the schemes, the Federal Trade Commission said last week in its annual databook of consumer complaints.

The percentage surpassed the 18 per cent of US consumers 70 or older who reported they lost money to fraudsters last year, the FTC said.

However, the median loss reported by adults in their seventies was US$621, and for those aged 80 or over it was US$1,092. Both age groups reported a higher median loss than the US$400 for those aged 20-29, the data showed.

The findings emerged from the first year in which the federal watchdog agency broke out consumer complaint data by age groups.

Overall, the data includes 2017 complaints reported by 2.68 million consumers, down from the 2.98 million who reported fraud, identity theft and other consumer problems in 2016.

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Consumer complaints about debt collections declined year over year in 2017 but still remained the top complaint category with 23 per cent of all reports. The number of debt collection reports was due in part to complaints submitted by a data contributor who collects them via a mobile app, the FTC said.

Identity theft represented the second biggest complaint category, with nearly 14 per cent of all reports. Credit card fraud was the most common type of identity theft that consumers reported, followed by tax fraud.

Imposter scams, frauds when someone pretends to be a government official, a loved one in trouble, or someone else, were the third most common complaint. Consumers reported they lost more money to imposter scams – US$328 million in all – than any other type of fraud, the report showed.

Military consumers reported losing the most to imposter scams, with US$16 million in all.

“While we received fewer overall complaints in 2017, consumers reported losing more money to fraud than they did the year before,” Tom Pahl, acting director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement issued with the data. “This underscores the importance of the FTC’s work in educating consumers and cracking down on the scammers who try to take their money.”