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Teenagers and young adults are falling for scams at a higher rate than older Americans, according to a new study released by SocialCatfish.

The company said it compiled the data using 2021 information from the FBI, Internet Crime Complaint Center and FTC.

SocialCatfish found that the number of victims 20 and younger who fell for scams more than doubled between 2017 and 2020. In 2017, the company said there were 9,053 scam victims under the age of 20. That increased to 23,186 last year.

While seniors remain the most victimized group according to the company, experts say the large number of younger people also falling for scams show just how sophisticated they’ve become.

Working for you, the following are the most common scans and how to avoid them, according to


When the pandemic started and lockdowns began, it was difficult for millions of people to find work.

Socialcatfish said scammers made it worse when they took the opportunity to offer fake jobs to desperate people. Scammers said the jobs were all remote and came with high pay. Applicants were told to provide personal information and had to pay to apply for the job.

Scammers then use that information to drain the applicant’s bank account.


Be concerned about any job that asks you for payment to apply, or before you begin working. Never provide personal information or your bank account until you’ve investigated the company.


Many young adults and teenagers would love to be an Instagram influencer, just like the people they follow.

Scammers will create fake accounts that mirror the accounts of actual influencers. Then the scammers host a fake brand-sponsored contest. The “winner” is asked for personal information and to pay a fee to receive the prize.


Don’t send money or provide personal information to people you don’t know.


Scammers steal photos of an attractive person and pretend to be him/her. The scammer preys on young, vulnerable people and then begin asking for money.


Don’t send money or provide personal information to people you don’t know. If the person will not video chat, they are likely a scammer.


Victims fall for someone who texts or Snapchats an explicit image, and wants one in return. Once it’s received the scammer threatens to send the photo to all the contacts in the person’s phone and post the picture online.


Avoid sending explicit images online or by phone. Not only can it be dangerous, it can also be illegal.


Fake websites are created to look exactly like an online store selling designer merchandise. Only on the fake website the merch is sold at huge discounts. If you buy something it never arrives. The person behind the website keeps your money and steals you credit card and personal information to use in future crimes.


Make sure the website is spelled correctly. Research any company you decide to do online business with in the future.

If you think you are the victim of identity theft, notify the police, your bank, and credit card companies. You can also report any scams to the FTC, FBI and IC3.