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Next time someone from Gen Z tries to school you on how much more tech savvy their generation is, feel free to share the results of this recent study with them.

Over the past five years, from 2017 to 2022, no age group has fallen for online scams at a quicker rate than people age 20 or younger, according to a study by online investigation service Social Catfish. During that span, money lost by Gen Z grew nearly 2,500% — compared to 805% for seniors.

In terms of dollars lost, young people lost $210 million overall to scams in 2022, according to the study. That’s way up from 2017, when those under 20 lost $8.2 million.

But older victims still far and away lose the most money in scams. According to the study, seniors lost $3.1 billion in 2022.

In all, online scams cost people a record $10.3 billion in 2022, up from $6.9 billion in the previous year. The average victim lost nearly $13,000, the study found, but really all numbers may not be entirely accurate: Of the 5,500 victims polled for the study, 4,455 were too ashamed to come forward or file a report.

And of all that $10.3 billion lost, only $433 million, or 4.2%, was able to be recovered by the FBI, the study found, largely because many scammers are from outside the U.S., where the law enforcement body has no jurisdiction.

So why are young people getting victimized more often? It may come down to scammers becoming more sophisticated and adept at taking advantage of their targets. There’s also the rapid increase in use of artificial intelligence online.

“The explosion of AI has given us a glimpse into the future of scams with new tactics such as ‘voice cloning’ and ‘deep fake’ videos making it look and sound like you are giving money to someone you know, trust or love,” read the study, State of Internet Scams 2023.

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