Mark Zuckerberg famously said "young people are just smarter," but when it comes to internet scams, it seems millennials aren't so savvy after all. A new survey found that 50% of the victims of tech support scams were 18- to 34-year-olds; by comparison, only 34% of people ages 36 to 54 were likely to click phony pop-up ads, emails, or calls. The group least likely to do any of those things were those the Facebook founder would consider ancient: the over 55s, with only 17% likely to be conned. The Ipsos poll of 1,000 people in 12 countries revealed that two out three were hit with some sort of tech-related scam in the past year, which puts their personal information at risk.
Live Science reports that overall only 20% took the scams seriously, with 9% losing money. Americans, however, were the most gullible, with 33% believing the pitch and 21% losing cash. Dark Reading reports that IT scams often involve phone calls in which a potential victim is told their computer has been infected with malware, followed by an offer to sell tech support. From there, the scammers aim to gain remote access to a victim's computer. "If that computer is connected to the office or has business information … that could be a pretty big risk for the enterprise," says Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance, which released the study with Microsoft. He urged keeping antivirus and anti-malware software up to date and more IT training of workers, many of whom are millennials.