Internet Scams More Successful With Millennials Than Seniors

New survey shows the older you are, the less likely you are to fall victim to IT scams
By Linda Hervieux,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 20, 2016 12:00 PM CDT
Internet Scams More Successful With Millennials Than Seniors
Murray Miller works on a computer at a senior center in Columbia, S.C., in this file photo. Seniors are more savvy to IT scams than their grandchildren, a study found.   (AP Photo/Bruce Smith)

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. (More high tech stories.)

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