Young Adult Cyber-Scams

A report from the Pew Research Center reveals that 93% of young adults, from ages 18 to 29, actively use the internet. Young adults use the internet in more ways than any other age group; social media, work, school, etc. The internet is an integral part of the average young adult’s day-to-day life. If you fall into this category, there are several cybercrime risks you may be exposed to. 

Let’s discuss a few of these risks and how to recover from them:

Student Scams: College is a large financial undertaking, and cybercriminals use this to their advantage. Scammers may offer you “student loan forgiveness” in an attempt to access your personal information and steal your money. These fraudsters often use urgent language like, “Act now!” or “This offer won’t last!”. Check out these warning signs from Federal Student Aid to see if you may have been exposed to a student loan scam. If you have been affected by a scam like this, visit us here for recovery! 

Incoming students are also affected by cybercrime. Scammers create fake college degree programs to trick prospective students into giving away personal information. These fraudulent degrees come from “diploma mills”. To learn more about diploma mills and how to tell if you’ve been affected by this scam, visit the FTC’s guidelines on college degree scams.

Pyramid Schemes: You may notice friends and or old colleagues on social media messaging you about a “business opportunity”. If the main goal and structure of the business is to bring in new recruits, it’s likely a pyramid scheme. A pyramid scheme is a system where participants make their money by recruiting more participants. The cash-flow of a pyramid scheme is generated by later recruits investing money to participate, rather than actual sales. Pyramid schemes are illegal in the United States. Fraud.org warns to “be wary of big earning claims”. If the offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Check out the rest of Fraud.org’s pyramid scheme warning signs to aid you in recognizing this investment scam.

Privacy Breach: With the rise of social media, our lives are becoming less and less private every day. By sharing personal information like your birthday, your address, or the names of places you frequent; you are exposed to risks of cyberstalking/harassment and identity theft. If you are currently dealing with cyberstalking or harassment, visit our resource page for recovery help. There is a caveat to cyber-harassment called “sextortion”; where the perpetrator will use private photos of you as a form of extortion. This video from Thorn gives detail on the subject. If you have been the victim of sextortion, contact law enforcement immediately. For further recovery support, visit us here.

Identity theft is another risk associated with a lack of privacy and the distribution of personal information. If you are under 18, the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) has resources and information available to help you in the face of identity theft. If you are above 18 and have been exposed to identity theft, please visit our recovery page for immediate action steps. 

Stay tuned over the next week as we share a daily blog introducing a new cybercrime topic that affects young people.