PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Many teens are tech-savvy! They grew up around smart phones, tablets and laptops, but that doesn't mean they can't fall for a scam. According to a new study from Social Catfish, an identity verification website, teens are falling for online scams faster than their grandparents.

“When we go to school, we learn about math and science, we learn about even drugs and sex, but we don't learn about online safety,” David McClellan, president of Social Catfish, said.

The study shows the “under 20" group is being scammed online at a faster rate than any other age group. McClellan says his team spent three months working on this report using data from the FBI and FTC.

“They grew 156% and that was absolutely astonishing,” McClellan said. “Back in the day, you know, AOL chat rooms, that's where all the scams happen. Now, they're happening through social networks, email, text messages, dating websites." 

So, how can you avoid being a victim? “You can pretty much avoid most scams with two tips, don't give anybody money, and be careful about what links you click on and who you talk to,” said McClellan.

What types of scams are young people falling for? 

According to Social Catfish, job scams are most common with teens and young adults so be wary of any job that seems too good to be true. Influencer scams are also high on the list with teens. During these scams, fraudsters create fake social media accounts that look exactly like people’s favorite influencers.

Teens also fall for online shopping scams. If you’re shopping online, make sure the website isn't full of typos. If the customer service email is a Gmail or Yahoo account, that’s a big red flag. Do your research about the company!

“We grew up in the don't talk to strangers era and they're growing up in the, you know, talk to everybody online era,” McClellan said.

Arizona among top states for scams 

Last year, Americans lost more than $4-billion to online scams. The report found Arizona is the 16th most scammed state. In April, Arizona's Family reported that business email compromise fraud is the top scam in the state. The FBI estimated $30 million in losses.  If you believe you’re a victim of a scam, contact the FTC.


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