A new study found that younger generations like Gen Z and Millennials are actually more likely to be the victim of online scams than older generations like Gen X and Boomers.
Online scams have become a common part of the digital world, with personal data and financial information being targeted everywhere from social media to messaging apps.
Well, despite all the memes about their inability to pronounce “Chipotle,” this study shows that older generations are actually keeping their information safer than younger generations.
Younger Generations More Victimized by Online Scams than Older Generations
The Annual Cybersecurity Attitudes and Behaviors Report from the National Cybersecurity Alliance looks at three types of online scams — phishing, identity theft, and romance scams — to determine which generations were most likely to fall victim to these kinds of cyberattacks.
According to their data, Gen Z is the generation most victimized by phishing scams, with 34% noting that they have been tricked by hackers into giving up their information. On top of that, Millennials were more often victimized by identity theft (20%) and romance scams (18%) than any other generation.
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Comparatively, Baby Boomers seem quite technically proficient. Only 12% have fallen victim to phishing scams, as well as only 8% having their identity stolen and 4% falling for romance scams.
Why Are Younger Generations Getting Scammed?
While this study seems to debunk the popular theory that boomers are ripe for the picking when it comes to online scams, there are some clear reasons that younger generations would be more prone to getting scammed online.
For starters, the level of online usage from generation to generation plays a big role. 64% of Gen Z and 48% of Millennials respondents, for example, noted that they were “always connected” when it came to online presence. Comparatively, only 33% of Boomers said the same, with 60% saying they were only online “a few times a day.”
False confidence could also be playing a role, as thinking you're secure when you're not can leave you vulnerable to more sophisticated attacks. In the study, 47% of Gen Z and 52% of Millennials agree with the statement “I find it easy to be secure when I am online.” Conversely, only 30% of Boomers agree with that statement.
How to Stay Safe Online
The study noted that Gen Z and Millennials should be far more proficient when it comes to securing their data online, but that the complicated nature of cybersecurity and the desire for convenience over protection does a lot to impede their success.
“Gen Zs and Millennials were found to be particularly at risk. Although around half of them have access to training, they reported the highest victimization rates across generations, while simultaneously rating cybersecurity to be less of a priority than other activities. This suggests more support—not more training—is needed to help younger generations stay safe online.” – National Cybersecurity Alliance researchers
All that to say, cybersecurity efforts and attitudes right now are far behind where they need to be to ensure that the online world is a safe place for everyone. But if you're a Millennial looking to throw shade at older generations, you might want to keep the “ok boomer” to yourself.