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Report: Millennial victims make up nearly half of scams reported to BBB

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - According to an annual report by the Better Business Bureau, the youngest person in your family could be the most likely to fall for a scam.

The report, which compiled nearly 48,000 scams reported via the BBB's online Scam Tracker tool in 2017, found that 44% of reports came from victims ages 18-34 and of those, more than 70% said they had been scammed online.

Jaclyn Woodard, who is in her 20's and lives in Indianapolis, filed one of the reports. Woodard said just months before her wedding, someone stole her cousin's online identity and sent her a Facebook message.

The person said that they had received a grant to better their lives and pointed Woodard to another user who would distribute the money, but she was told she had to put money down first.

"I was like, that’s my cousin, so ... I might as well go ahead," Woodard said.

Woodard ended up losing more than $700, which she sent in the form of gift cards and money orders.

"That was supposed to be the money (I was) using to plan my wedding," Woodard said.

According to the report, online purchases ranked as the number one riskiest scam. Advance fee loans, similar to the scam targeted Woodard, ranked the fourth riskiest.

Central Indiana BBB CEO Tim Maniscalo said that despite occurring on the internet, many scams still use the traditional red flags you see in other cases. For Woodard, those included putting money down to get money back, paying in unusual ways like gift cards, and getting a message out of the blue.

"What we’re finding is that millennials are accustomed to being on the internet. They trust the internet, they give a lot of their personal information on the internet," Maniscalo said.

If you are targeted by scammers, even if you don't fall for it, you should report it. You can do that at the BBB's website here, as well as to the Indiana Attorney General and Federal Trade Commission.