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Young Adults More Likely to Fall for Phishing Scams

Under-25s are more than twice as likely to be caught out by phishing attacks as those over 55, according to new research from the UK government-backed Get Safe Online.

Some 11% of younger adults (18-24-years-old) have fallen victim to a phishing attack, versus only 5% of over-55s, according to new stats released to coincide with awareness-raising campaign Get Safe Online Week.

Younger adults are also likely to lose more money; on average £613, compared to £214 for the over-55s.

The research revealed that, contrary to popular belief, younger netizens are less tech-savvy than their older counterparts in that they are too trusting of online communication.

Some 40% of under-25s said they “carefully read and re-read all emails”, compared to 69% of over-55s, while half (51%) of younger adults admitted regularly “replying to or clicking links in unsolicited or spam emails”.

Almost half of all reported fraud in the UK is now online, according to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB), although the figure may be even higher.

While NFIB stats show 152,583 cyber-enabled crimes were reported to Action Fraud in the past year, the ONS revealed 1.9m online fraud incidents.

Tim Ayling, EMEA director of fraud and risk intelligence at RSA Security, claimed young people spend more of their time online, leaving a trail of personal information behind them.

“Cyber-criminals are adept at following this trail of breadcrumbs back to their target, and are ruthless when it comes to using this information against them for financial gain”, he added. “Young and old alike, the British public needs to have greater awareness of phishing attacks, and take better care to protect themselves online.”

Andrew Martin, CEO and founder of anti-fraud vendor DynaRisk, argued there’s a misconception that scammers only target older generations because they think they have more money and are more vulnerable.

“From using different passwords for each online account, to regularly checking to see if personal details have been lost in a breach, consumers of all ages need to be taught to be more vigilant online and know the red flags of phishing attempts like this,” he explained. 

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