Ahead of the Holidays, FTC Warns Online Shoppers of All Ages

The latest Consumer Protection Data Spotlight from the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) came to this conclusion: “anyone can be scammed.”

In 2021, it appears that Gen Xers, Millennials, and Gen Z young adults (ages 18–59) were 34% more likely than older adults (ages 60 and over) to report losing money to fraud. Younger adults were far more likely than older adults to report losses to online shopping fraud—one of the most prevalent categories of fraud for both age groups. Younger adults were also 448% more likely to report job scams and 330% more likely to report investment scams, including bogus cryptocurrency investment opportunities.

But some types of fraud affected those over 60 more frequently. Older adults were five times more likely to report losing money on a tech support scam and twice as likely to report losing money on a prize, sweepstakes, or lottery scam. Furthermore, the FTC noted that although older adults were less likely to report losing money to fraud, those 70 and over reported much higher median individual losses. The median reported loss was $800 for people 70 to 79, and $1,500 for those 80 and over. Yet, older adults were more likely than their younger counterparts to report fraud they had encountered but avoided losing any money to.

The spotlight also reported generational differences in how scammers reach people, drawing a contrast between social media platforms and phone calls, for instance.

GDHM joins the FTC in encouraging individuals of all ages to learn about scams and share what they know. To learn more, visit ftc.gov.

Author: Daniela Peinado Welsh

Daniela is a litigator and former federal law clerk who helps clients navigate complex disputes.