Millennials are Actually More Vulnerable to Scams than Older Generations

July 25, 2016

New research on scam victims published by the BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust (BBB Institute) has surprising results: millennials are more likely to get scammed than Baby Boomers. The results, detailed in Cracking the Invulnerability Illusion: Stereotypes, Optimism Bias, and the Way Forward for Marketplace Scam Education, which can be downloaded at, are based on a survey of 2,000 people who were asked about their own, and others’, perceived vulnerability to scams.

This research upends common stereotypes about scam victims: that they are old and clueless about technology. This may be due to the “optimism bias”, which causes people to think others are more vulnerable than they themselves are. Seniors have a lot more life experiences and are subsequently less affected by this bias, so they’re more aware of their risk of being scammed and take precautions to avoid it. The result: younger and more educated individuals are actually the most likely to be scammed and lose money.

This research also reflects some trends seen in BBB Scam Tracker data, a tool where consumers can report scams and see what other consumers have submitted. More than 32,000 scams have been reported so far.

To read more about the details of this research and learn about the new approach that BBB recommends for how society handles fraud, click here.