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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently announced their annual summary of complaints reported by consumers across the country. Analyzing the results in age brackets, they were able to calculate each group’s percentage of reports and median financial loss.

Millennials are often perceived as tech-savvy and much more attuned to cyber scams than their elder counterparts. However, the FTC’s findings show that 40% of respondents in their twenties who reported fraud also lost money, the highest percentage out of any age bracket. Interested in the rest of the findings? Below, we have broken down some of the statistics that stood out the most.

Millennials (20-29) and Elders (80 and Over):

In 2017, 71,589 people in their twenties reported fraud. 40% of those who reported a scam lost money because of it, $61 million dollars to be exact. The median loss for millennials was $400. Conversely, less than six thousand people who were eighty or over lost money, the median loss was much higher at $1,092. What does this mean?

Elders reported scams at a much lower rate. When they did report, however, the scams were much more financially detrimental to them. Scams are a common form of elder financial abuse which can be difficult to detect.  If you or a loved one are an elder, do not be afraid to contact the bank or local authorities if something seems suspicious.

Debt Collection Fraud:

Debt collection scams remained the most popular consumer complaint. Third-party debt collectors are often used to collect past due payments. Many scammers use this opportunity to pose as a third party to demand payment from you, even though they are unaffiliated with any businesses. Signs of a fake debt collector are if they threaten jail time or if they do not send a validation notice. If you think a fraudulent debt collector is trying to solicit money from you, hang up immediately and report the caller. In Massachusetts, the Division of Banks licensees debt collectors. Learn more about the do’s and don’ts of debt collection here.

Imposter Scams:

According to the report, imposter scams were the third most common complaint. Unfortunately, consumers lost more money to imposter scams than any other type of scams. Common imposter scams are the IRS, grandparent, and online dating scams. In each scenario, a scammer will call you to solicit money from you. They may pose as government officials, law enforcement, attorneys, or even your own family member. If anyone demands payment from you over the phone, via gift card, or wire transfer, they are probably trying to scam you. No one from the IRS, FTC, or police department will ever ask for money over the phone or threaten immediate arrest for non-payment.

No matter your age or profession, you will always have to be alert for possible scams. Being careful about what links you open, what websites you make payments on, and what kind of calls you respond to can help you avoid being one of the thousands of consumers who lost money due to fraud. Check back on our blog regularly to find up-to-date information about scams and consumer advisories.

If you have additional questions, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation by calling our Consumer Hotline at (617) 973-8787, or toll-free in MA at (888) 283-3757, Monday through Friday, from 9 am-4:30 pm. Follow the Office on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer. The Baker-Polito Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation along with its five agencies work together to achieve two goals: to protect and empower consumers through advocacy and education, and to ensure a fair playing field for Massachusetts businesses. The Office also oversees the state’s Lemon Laws and Arbitration Program, Data Breach reporting, Home Improvement Contractor Programs and the MA Do Not Call Registry.

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