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NEW YORK — Teenagers are falling for online scams at a high rate, and the data to back it up is alarming.

In the last five years, money lost by teens grew nearly 2,500% from 2017 to 2022, compared to 805% for senior citizens, according to recent data from the FBI.

It also shows victims under 20 lost $210 million in 2022. Seniors reportedly remain by far the most victimized group overall, losing $3.1 billion in 2022, but the spike in young victims speaks to the growing tactics from scammers.

“We ask parents to be vigilant and be active in their kid’s lives,” said Breanne McClellan, Co-Founder of Social Catfish.

McClellan and her “reverse search” tech company have analyzed data from the FBI, IC3, and FTC this year to see which scams are victimizing teens the most. See their findings below, along with helpful tips on what to do. 

Social Media Influencer Scam 

How it works: Teens idolize their favorite influencers. Scammers will create fake accounts that look just like the actual influencer’s account. They host a fake brand-sponsored contest and ask the “winner” to pay a fee or provide their bank account to win the prize.

How to avoid: Only follow the official influencer account, fake accounts have fewer followers. Never send money or bank information to anyone you do not know.

Romance Scams

How it works: Scammers steal photos of good-looking people and target young, vulnerable people online. They make the victim fall in love and begin asking for money.

How to avoid: Perform a reverse search to confirm their identity. If they will not video chat or meet, they are a scammer.

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