In Buzz, December 2022/January 2023 by Lauren KruchtenLeave a Comment

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Scams—we’ve all seen ’em, we’ve all fallen for ’em. Affinity fraud, or investment scams—when scammers pretend to be from the government or your bank and ask for money—are considered the most common and toughest to avoid. Even local attorney Yolanda D. McGill admits she “got got” when someone “from the sheriff’s department” called requesting money to pay jury duty fines. “They are tough to avoid,” she says. “Scammers will play on things you might not want to talk about.” 

But these scams aren’t just targeted at adults. All populations are vulnerable to affinity scams—including teens, who, perhaps surprisingly, are also vulnerable targets for online scams, reportedly falling for a tetrad of online scams “faster than their grandparents.” While “seniors remain by far the most victimized group overall—losing $1.68 billion last year—the surge of Gen Z victims is alarming and speaks to the growing sophistication of scammers,” says Social Catfish founder David McClellan. The people search and verification tool recently released a study on the State of Internet Scams 2022 using 2022 data from the FBI IC3 and FTC. According to that data, North Carolina is the No. 18 most-scammed state in the nation—and these are the four most common scams targeting teens and how to avoid them.


Mostly targeted toward males, sextortion is when a scammer poses as an attractive female on social media, sends nude photos to the victim and asks for the same in return. Once received, the scammer threatens to leak the person’s photos to their family/friends or online if they don’t send a requested sum of money. To avoid, perform a reverse image search to confirm whether or not the person you’re chatting with on social media is really who they say they are. 

Student Loan Forgiveness

With the recent announcement of the Student Loan Debt Relief plan, fake websites using mocked up Department of Education logos are tricking teens—and adults—into providing their bank info to have their debt forgiven. It’s important to only use the Department of Education’s official financial site, 

Online Gaming

Teens who play online video games are vulnerable to scammers who pose as fake vendors during in-game chats to get them to make in-game purchases—resulting in the scammer gaining access to all their information. To fend off this fraud, ensure your teen does not click any direct links in their DM’s. 

Talent Scouts

Social talent scouts—aka Instagram or TikTok users offering modeling and acting opportunities—are rampant. During the free “application process,” they will request your personal information and then use it to commit identity theft. Be wary of these “scouts” and always research the company first to make sure it’s legit.

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