When you think about who are the biggest victims of phone scams, most think of baby boomers or grandparents. A call management company called First Orion surveyed 1,000 mobile phone users and covered several generations. It turns out that the grandparents are probably not at the most risk. Millennials are most at risk for certain scams. The survey showed that older generations could be more at risk of believing common types of phone scams, but Millennials are more likely to give away personal information.
Millennials have basically killed home phones, but they all have cell phones. The findings from the survey show that Baby Boomers and Generation X are more protective of personal information than Millenials. Millennials are six times more likely to allow a phisher to steal and spend their money. 2.4% of the Millenials in the survey fell for the scam. A more threatening number is the 17% of Millenials that would give personal information over the phone as long as the scammer knew the last four digits of their Social Security number. Only 3.2% of Baby Boomers and 2% of Generation X gave up their personal information in the same scenario.
Eva Velasquez is the CEO and President of the Identity Theft Resource Center. She was not in the survey but thinks the findings match with how the younger generation uses technology. The findings may seem backward, but this generation grew up with this technology. They may assume there is no such thing as private information anymore. They post pictures of their meals daily and already know how much data search engines like Google take and show with the personal activity logs.
Eva Velasquez says that the older generations did not grow up on the internet and are already cautious when on it. They do not instantly trust websites that ask for email addresses or phone numbers. The younger generations might not think twice because they enter their information all the time on various websites, which are almost always secure. Millennials do so many things online without having an issue that giving information is commonplace. Millennials don’t think about who could be at the other end of a transaction because the internet is so commonplace to them. One of the most dangerous phone scams around uses just 4 words. If an unknown number starts with “Can you hear me?” hang up and say nothing. The scammers record these calls, and they can use the recording to get access to personal information if you say yes.
Eva Velasquez says the best way to protect yourself is to trust no one. Say your bank calls you and asks for information. Hang up and call your bank’s customer service number, so you know it’s really the bank. The bank’s customer service line is on the back of your credit card. If your bank is calling you, then they can talk to you. If they were not calling you, then you protected yourself and can report the call to the bank.