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Millenials and Gen Zs vs fraud

IN the digital age, the rising threat of fraud poses a significant concern for both the millennial generation (born 1981-1996) and Generation Z (born 1997-2012). These demographic groups, known for their substantial reliance on technology and online platforms, are particularly vulnerable to various forms of fraudulent activities.


According to the report of Telesign Trust Index, a US-based cybersecurity firm, released on Aug. 23, 2023, the demographic group spending the most substantial amount of time online is the 18 to 34 age bracket, with an astonishing 75 percent dedicating three or more hours daily to their online activities.


This is closely followed by the 35 to 54 age group, where 70 percent devote a similar amount of time to the digital realm. Interestingly, the survey also revealed a gender disparity in fraud, with 66 percent of fraud victims being women, compared to 34 percent men. One possible explanation is that women, on average, spend more time on their mobile devices compared to men.


The tech-savvy nature of these generations does not guarantee immunity from fraud. In fact, their familiarity with technology can sometimes lead to complacency, or a false sense of security. Cybercriminals continuously adapt their tactics to exploit vulnerabilities in online systems and deceive unsuspecting users.


As of the fourth quarter of 2022, the most prevalent consumer fraud schemes in the Philippines, as published by the Statista Research Department on April 20, 2023, encompass online shopping frauds, business impersonation scams, government impersonation schemes, fake check frauds and romance scams. The consequences of falling victim to these deceptive ploys can encompass financial losses, compromised personal information, damaged credit scores and even emotional distress.


In response to these concerning trends, the Department of Finance (DoF) has warned the public of online scams using the names of public officials and business leaders, and urged the public to stay cautious and avoid providing any personal information to these scammers. The DoF is working with anti-cybercrime authorities and other relevant law enforcement agencies to track down and prosecute those behind such schemes.


The government is also in contact with social media and online ad companies to track and take down fake posts.


The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has issued guidelines and advisories to protect consumers from fraud and scams, including warning the public to beware of fraudulent investment schemes. The BSP has also launched an awareness campaign to educate the public about the risks of cyber fraud and to promote safe online practices.


To combat this rising threat effectively, it is imperative for millennials and Generation Zs to remain well-informed about the various guises of fraud and to adopt a proactive stance in safeguarding themselves. This entails meticulous management of passwords, exercising caution when sharing personal information online and an unwavering commitment to never divulge sensitive details such as card numbers, card verification values, personal PINs or one-time passwords, especially when solicited over the phone. Regular monitoring of financial accounts for any suspicious activities is equally crucial, as is approaching every email attachment with a discerning eye. Furthermore, it is imperative to exercise caution when encountering substantial discounts during festive sales and to stay attuned to the latest developments in cybersecurity best practices.


In conclusion, the battle against fraud in the digital age is an ongoing struggle, and millennials and Generation Zs must remain resolute in their efforts to protect themselves from these evolving threats. By staying informed and adopting proactive measures, they can navigate the digital landscape with greater confidence and security.


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Jessica Mae Gois, CPA, is the audit manager of Paguio, Dumayas and Associates, CPAs (PDAC)-PrimeGlobal Philippines and a member of Acpapp. The views and opinions in this article are hers and do not represent those of PDAC and Acpapp.


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