Ah, millennials. So tech savvy, so smartphone sophisticated and — wait, so easy to fool?
Take Neha Shaida's case. She's a Cal State Fullerton graduate student who was scammed on Craigslist during her freshman year. She thought she'd found her dream job of doing odd jobs for a friendly online boss, who sent her a big check to deposit in her account.
"He had me run errands for him, spend the money for him, then the check didn't clear," Shaida said.
There went a thousand dollars, right down the drain.
"I should have seen the red flags," Shaida said. "It happens."
To this age group, especially. According to numbers crunched by the Better Business Bureau, 37 percent of the victims scammed in 2016 were between the ages of 18 to 24. Compare that to just 12 percent of seniors over 65.
Millennials are falling for everything from online job offers to bogus tech support calls.
Cal State Fullerton professor Matt Lancellotti studies consumer psychology. He says young people feel more at ease than their elders online, where incidents of fraud are on the rise. That youthful confidence works against them.
"They think they know everything, they already have it down, they've got all the information they need, no reason to reach out to anyone else or gather additional information," Lancellotti said.
Combine that with the lack of financial wisdom that comes with age, and Lancellotti says it amounts to "a bit of a perfect storm."
Phone scams are the most common, with fraudulent websites and email phishing coming in close behind. Young or old, you can avoid becoming the next victim.
"Be aware of companies that are asking for a deposit upfront, or that ask you to wire funds, or to send money in advance without any details or the contracts in writing," said Steve McFarland of the Better Business Bureau. "The more you're online and the more you're using social media, it's not if you're going to be scammed, it's when."
One more interesting finding: seems men are more likely to fall for scams than women and lose more money when they do.