12 February 2024
Despite being assumed as the most digitally native generation, Gen Z is being scammed three times more than silver surfers, debunking the assumption that older generations are less tech-savvy.
Gen Z is regarded as the first true digital natives and are reported to spend more time online than any other generation¹. However, a recent study by cyber security provider F‑Secure found that 16–24-year-olds are three times more likely to fall victim to online scams (37%), compared to those aged 55 and above (12%). Challenging the assumption that they are the most tech-savvy demographic.
Despite their vulnerability, only 11% of Gen Z respondents expressed concerns about online shopping safety, a stark contrast to 31% of the over 55s. The research indicates a potential lack of awareness among Gen Z regarding the risks associated with online transactions.
In an attempt to protect themselves, and uphold the notion they are scam proof, 71% of Gen Z respondents admit they either completely, or sometimes, avoid independent online retailers, perceiving them as higher risk than well-known brands, where they shop for a greater sense of safety and security. However, the study reveals a misconception, as scams occur across all shopping platforms, with occurrences at 27% for small independents, 23% for large online platforms, and 21% for large retailers.
The most common items Gen Z fell victim to in online scams last year are:
Furniture and home decor
Tom Gaffney, cyber security expert at F‑Secure, says: “Gen Z may be the most tech-savvy of all when it comes to using online tools but it appears that it may be a false assumption to assume they have the same awareness of threats. While they can make a TikTok video and jump on the latest viral trend, our research shows they are less able to identify when they are being exploited by cyber criminals.”
“There is a clear lack of awareness among this demographic when it comes to online safety, which could be driven by over-sharing and misplaced trust online.”
F-Secure, a leading cyber security provider, offers the following tips to stay safe when shopping online:
Don’t click on declined payment links in emails, even if they look like they’re from a trusted retailer like Amazon. Instead, log in to the retailer’s official website to check the payment status.
Be wary of free offers for digital assets, especially in online video games. Cyber criminals often use these to trick users into giving away their login details.
Be cautious when purchasing from new or unknown online stores. Look for warning signs like a lack of company information or a recently created domain.
Don’t fall for social media scams advertising too-good-to-be-true deals. Check comments and user profiles carefully before making a purchase.
F‑Secure makes every digital moment more secure, for everyone. We deliver brilliantly simple, frictionless security experiences that make life easier for the tens of millions of people we protect and for our more than 200 service provider partners. For more than 30 years, we’ve led the cyber security industry, inspired by a pioneering spirit born out of a shared commitment to do better by working together.