Ten common scams targeting teens and young adults

Wednesday, September 8th, 2021 00:00 |
Some scams targeting teens and young adults.

1. Job frauds

The Covid-19 pandemic made it difficult for young people to find work. Scammers capitalised on this by dangling fake jobs that can be done remotely with high pay.

They post on job sites and then request advanced payment for training. They ask for personal information during the “application process” and use it to drain your bank and commit identity theft.

To avoid this, be wary of any job that seems too good to be true or asks you for payment prior to beginning work. 

Never provide information or bank accounts details until you have established the credibility of the company.

2. Cheap luxury goods

Have you ever seen ads online for the latest iPhone, handbag, just-walked-the-red-carpet designer gown, or state-of-the-art headphones being sold at just a fraction of the retail price?

Many of these advertisements are simply scams aimed at unsuspecting individuals who are looking for a good deal.

However, these scams don’t only exist online. Teens can be approached with too-good-to-be-true offers just about anywhere just to defraud them off their cash.  

3. Romance scams

Also known as catfishing, this is when scammers steal photos of good-looking people and target young, vulnerable people online.

They make the victim fall in love and begin asking for money. You should never, under any circumstance, give money to anyone you meet online.

If they will not video chat or meet, most certainly they want to defraud you.

4. Sextortion 

The advent of smart phones led to sexting, which has now led to sextortion. Scammers pose as an attractive person on OnlyFans or Snapchat, hooks the target and moves the conversation over to text.

They send an explicit image and ask for one in return. Once received, they reveal themselves to be scammers and threaten to send the photo to all contacts in the person’s phone and post the picture on the Internet.

To avoid being in such a trap, stop sending explicit images online or by phone.

If the person you are falling for will not meet or video chat think twice before sending anything.

5. Online shopping

Fake websites are created to look like an online store selling items at a huge discount.

If you buy, the item never arrives; they pocket the money and steal your credit/debit card and personal information for future online theft.

To make sure that you don’t fall into this pit, make sure the website is not full of typos.

If the “customer service” email is “” or “”, that is a red flag. Research the company first.

6. Make money fast

Who wouldn’t want to make money easy and fast on the internet? So, cyber criminals promise non-existent jobs and get rich quick schemes.

Victims are lured into giving away personal information or financial data with the promise of a well-paid job that will bring in lots of money in a short period of time or receive an offer to invest in a great opportunity with a huge payout.

Although these scams may not necessarily target teens and young adults, they may fall victim to them.

You should always think twice before investing in a ‘make money fast’ scheme, whether online or offline.

7. Fake creative contests

Scammers will target high school and college students by promoting a creative contest where they can win a prize for submitting an essay or artwork.

Entrants may even have the chance to get their writing published or exhibit their piece of work in an art gallery.

This scam entices students because winning a contest or having artwork displayed to the public can give them a leg up on their application for college or a job.

Keep in mind, students should never have to pay to enter a contest, receive a prize, or have their work published or displayed in a gallery.

8. Instagram sweepstakes

Instagram has evolved into a platform where influencers can make money by promoting products and services of sponsored advertisers.

But that’s not the only way influencers can earn a buck. It’s common for an influencer to host a contest where followers enter to win a sponsored product.

Entrants typically need to like the post, tag a friend and comment. Similar to other sweepstakes scams, the “winner” is asked to pay a fee or give up an account number to receive the prize.

If so, you’re getting scammed. Never send money or reveal your personal financial information.

9. Scholarships and grants

Many young people are worried about financing their higher education, and this may cause them to fall victim to scams surrounding false scholarships or grants.

These offers can be attempts to steal personal information from students who may be looking for financial aid.

Other scams focus on charging money for information on potential scholarships that may or may not actually exist.

Another variety targets young college students who have accrued debt from legitimate student loans.

These older teens may be approached by people who offer to help eliminate student debt in exchange for a small fee.

Once the fee is paid, the fraudster disappears without, of course, altering the student’s debt at all.

10. Identity theft

The naivety of youth often makes it easier for would-be identity thieves to phish for information, as adolescents don’t even realise that they’re handing over personal data that can be used for identity theft.

Many of these scams operate online, making use of emails or pop-up windows that ask for verification of addresses, phone numbers, passwords and bank or credit card account numbers.

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