Millennials lose $300 per fraud while elderly lose 4x more

Edward G. | November 25, 2020

The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC’s) primary mission is to protect US consumers by halting unfair, deceptive, or fraudulent practices in the marketplace. Therefore, the data shared by the FTC on fraudulent activities show us a bigger picture of these imminent dangers.

According to Atlas VPN findings based on official FTC records, millennials lose between $300 and $205 per fraud case, while elderly people lose up to $1,200.

Americans ages 20-29 sustained around $300 in monetary damages per fraud case in 2020 on a Year-to-Date (YTD) basis. On the bright side, losses decreased by 33% from $448 in 2019.

Millennials ages 30-39 lost the least per scam, averaging $205, which is a 45% decrease in contrast to 2019. Just like the younger age group, most scams were carried out via the internet.

Older US citizens ages 40-49 sustained around 233$ in damages per fraud case in 2020. Monetary losses per scam decreased by 43% in this group.

Jumping to the 70-79 age bracket, losses per fraud reached $600. Yet, the decrease from 2019 is still significant at 25%. Also, scammers mostly reach out to elders by phone, unlike younger people, who most often get scammed online.

Finally, the oldest age group - 80 and older, lost by far the most money when they fell victim to fraudsters, reaching $1,200. Nonetheless, older people did manage to reduce their losses by $400 from what it was in 2019. Just like in the previous age group, cyber criminals mostly swindle money by calling pensioners via phone.

To conclude, losses in 2020 are worrisome, but the trend seems to be heading in a positive direction, as the average sum lost across the board declined by 34%. In total, elderly people lost around $1 billion to online scams.

Millennials most gullible to scams

The amount lost to a scam is not the only important factor when it comes to evaluating which generation is most damaged by scams. Perhaps even more importantly, we should look at how often each age group losses money to cybercriminals.

Interestingly, even though the average losses per fraud decreased in 2020, the number of scams increased by nearly 13%.

Average financial loss per scam is comparatively low for millennials, but they are scammed most often. In 2020, around 94 out of 100 thousand Americans ages 20-29 lost money to fraud, according to the FTC’s data.

Citizens ages 30-39 are also at the top of the list with more than 99 reports per 100 thousand population. Compared to 2019, this is 18 more reports per 100 thousand people, or a 24% increase year-over-year.

On the other side of the spectrum, we see elderly people ages 80 and over. The first part of the article revealed that they lost by far most money to fraud per report, but here, we see that they are scammed least often, with 38 reports per 100 thousand people, which is a slight decrease from last year.

No matter your age, follow these online security tips:

  • Do not give your personal or financial information after getting a call you did not expect. Government agencies or banks will not contact you via phone and ask you for your personal information. If this does happen, hang up the phone, find the company’s genuine website and contact them yourself.
  • Even if you get an email from a company you do business with, be careful and do not click on any links. Instead, go the long route and check any required information on the official website. Scammers often use email domains that are very similar to genuine ones and are hard to spot.
  • If you are pressured to purchase a service or product immediately, alarm bells should ring. Trustworthy businesses will give you time to think over your decision. Scammers have a limited amount of time to swindle money out of victims, as it is only a matter of time until the person decides to do a little digging to find out if the caller is who he says he is.
  • One of the biggest red flags is requests to pay with a money transfer service or a gift card. Threat actors use these payment methods because they are hard or nearly impossible to track down, allowing them to disappear into the dark with your money.

Finally, if you did fall victim to identity theft, fraud, or a similar scam, head over to the official FTC’s website and report it for further investigation:

Edward G.

Edward G.

Cybersecurity Researcher and Publisher at Atlas VPN. My mission is to scan the ever-evolving cybercrime landscape to inform the public about the latest threats.



© 2023 Atlas VPN. All rights reserved.