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Get Gephardt: Why Gen Z is more vulnerable to online scams than their grandparents

Oct 30, 2023, 10:45 PM | Updated: Oct 31, 2023, 4:48 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Scammers pepper mailboxes with nonsense letters telling folks they won the lottery or whatever. They ring us up randomly where one of the most lucrative gambits is literally called the “granny scam.”

Then there is email and social media, where most if not all of us have been spammed with bogus offers from various Nigerian princes looking to share their wealth. Largely, it’s been the less-internet-savvy older folks have been duped into sending money.

But somewhere along the way, scammers figured out they could steal a lot more money by being less random and targeting specific individuals: learning about them, gaining their trust, then dropping the hammer. And with that has also come a change in victim. According to data from the National Cyber Security Alliance, “older generations were almost three times less likely to have been victims” of online scams.


“We’re noticing that it really runs the gamut from everybody from Gen Z upward,” said Kimberly Samra, a Google cybersecurity expert.

She said much of it is due to younger generations working online, talking online, or just being online. No matter your age, she says the best offense is a good defense. Be skeptical of everything online – even when you are dealing with someone you think you know.

“Why are they reaching out to you? They could even be masking themselves as a friend, a family member, a store you frequent,” said Samra.


And many scams can be thwarted if people just slow down and take a break.

“If they’re asking you to do something urgently, whether that’s clicking on a link, sending them personal information, sending them money, those are all red flags.”

Lucrative it has become! In fact, according to Cybersecurity Ventures, the global annual cost of cybercrime is predicted to reach $8 trillion this year, and as much as $10.5 trillion by 2025.

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Get Gephardt: Why Gen Z is more vulnerable to online scams than their grandparents