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Can a generation that grew up with a cell phone in their hand and a computer at their classroom desk actually be the most susceptible generation to scammers? Just when we thought “boomers” would be the most vulnerable, there are some interesting insights this might not be true.

Around this time of year I like to remind people of one important misconception, “The IRS will NEVER call your cell phone.”  If the “IRS” calls your cellphone, and demands immediate payment, it is a scam.  The real IRS will always send you a letter first, before setting up a time for a phone call.

With the advent of auto-dialing, internet calling services, and other technological advancements, we have all become more accessible. Consumers have seen scam calls skyrocket in the past few years. And around the tax season time of year, this is the busiest time of year for scammers. This is the time of year to warn Grandpa and any of your “boomer” friends, right? Yes, but they’re not the only ones you need to be warning…think Millennial’s as well…maybe even before the boomers.

According to a recent survey of 1,000 mobile phone users by First Orion, Millennials are the most likely to fall victim to financial phone scams. In fact, it’s not even close. Millennials are nearly three times as likely to experience a financial loss from a phone scam as baby boomers…three times!

As a generation that was seemingly born with a cellphone in hand, how can they be falling for these simple tricks at such a high rate? First Orion suggests that it’s Millennials’ incredible comfort with technology that is likely their undoing. Being so familiar with these devices and technology (and possibly too trusting) it is something they aren’t as suspicious of as other generations. It is “expected” to work and be a trusted source of information and connection.

The Internal Revenue Service recently warned consumers and professionals alike that the rash of data breaches over the past several years has given thieves access to millions of identity data points, including names, addresses, Social Security numbers and email addresses. This gives scammers more opportunities to lull consumers into a false sense of security during scam calls. According to the survey, millennials are six times more likely to disclose personal information over the phone if the caller could verify the last four digits of their Social Security number.

Scott Ballantyne, Chief Marketing Officer at First Orion tells us, “As digital natives, millennials are often less skeptical about the repercussions of sharing their personal information and trust that financial security systems will protect them. Older generations, however, tend to be more hesitant because they understand the ramifications of fraud and identity theft better than others. In addition, they have generally built up more wealth and therefore have more to lose.

The rate of scam calls is only increasing. In 2018, respondents were four times more likely to have received a scam call within the past week as compared to the same time frame in 2015. Further, the scammers are becoming bolder, as one third of respondents have received an email, text, or call from someone impersonating the IRS.

Once again, remember…the IRS will NEVER call your cell phone and demand immediate payment of taxes.  This will NEVER happen.  If you do get a phone call from someone at the “IRS” hang up immediately.  It might just save you thousands of dollars and lots of grief. If you have questions about any other types of scamps, please call our office at (208) 401-9300 or go to our tab, ASK A QUESTION and we’ll be happy to give you some additional insights and information to hopefully protect you from scammers…Millennials and boomers (and others) alike.

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