Young people saw highest likelihood of money loss from scams, BBB reports


Lansing, Mich. (WLNS) — Are you a young person and have recently noticed the number of scam calls you’re getting?

If so, you are not alone.

Young people are being hit harder by scams than ever before.

That’s one of the findings of the 2020 BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report (

The annual study looks at scam data reported to the BBB Scam Tracker and combines a number of times a scam was reported, how often it resulted in monetary loss and the amount lost to determine the riskiest scams of 2020.

The report shows Adults ages 18–24 reported the highest median losses ($150) and the highest likelihood of loss (56.6%) in 2020.

“While young people have been the most likely age group to lose money for several years, they usually lose the least amount of money as an age group. However, the growth of online purchase scams in 2020 has changed that dynamic,” says Phil Catlett, President of the Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan. “This new data shows young people are losing more money to these online scams than ever before.”

This year, the financial loss reported by those 18-24 was equal to that of adults 65+, an age group that traditionally sees the highest median loss.

COVID-19 lockdowns and other measures have led to more reported online purchase scams, which was not only the most common scam reported to the BBB Scam TrackerSM ( in 2020, but was also the most likely type of scam to cause monetary loss. This combination caused online purchase scams to become the riskiest scam in 2020. Among the different online purchase scams, pet scams and PPE-related online purchases were the most common.

Employment scams are the second highest-risk scam of 2020, followed by Fake Check/Money order scams. While BBB has seen an increase in scams using online payment methods and apps, check scams were particularly harmful to younger consumers.

“Most young adults don’t have a lot of experience with checks anymore. That lack of familiarity is an opening scammers are taking full advantage of as they seek to trick people out of their money,” says Catlett.

For more highlights from Online scams rise during COVID-19 pandemic: 2020 BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report, visit

Go to to report a scam, learn more about other risky scams on and visit our scam news feed

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