Tuesday, September 26, 2023
The internet, a place that has become integral to our lives, can be a treacherous landscape for the unsuspecting.
A recent study by Deloitte has unveiled a worrying trend that Generation Z, aged 14 to 26, is now more than three times as likely to become victims of online scams compared to their Baby Boomer grandparents, those aged between 58 and 76.
In a digital era where technology seems second nature, the study serves as a stark reminder that proficiency in technology doesn't always equate to online safety.
Astonishingly, 16 percent of Gen Z Americans reported falling a prey to online scams, a stark contrast to the mere 5 percent of Boomers who found themselves in a similar predicament.
However, the peril extends beyond mere scams.
Gen Z is also more than twice as likely to have their social media accounts hacked, with 17 percent experiencing such breaches compared to just 8 percent among Boomers. What's more, 14 percent of Gen Z respondents revealed that their location information had been misused, a worrisome statistic that surpasses other generations.
So, what is different about Gen Z?
Termed 'digital natives,' they grew up in a world where the internet was ever-present, making them more comfortable with technology. However, this familiarity might sometimes lead them to prioritise convenience over safety, inadvertently exposing themselves to cybercriminals.
Tanneasha Gordon, a principal at Deloitte, pointed out that Gen Z's frequent online shopping habits provide ample opportunities for fraudsters to strike.
"There are so many fraudulent websites and e-commerce platforms that just literally tailor to them, that will take them from the social media platform that they're on via a fraudulent ad," she warned.
The consequences of these scams are not trivial. According to an online fraud report by Social Catfish, victims under 20 lost a staggering $210 million to scams in the previous year, marking a significant escalation from the $8.2 million lost in 2017.
The study's findings highlight the pressing need for heightened online vigilance, not just among Gen Z but across all age groups. As scam losses continue to rise, reaching a staggering $10.3 billion in 2022, it is evident that the battle against cybercrime requires a collective effort and awareness.
With scams evolving and expanding in scope, the safety of our online interactions remains a paramount concern.