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Here are Common Online Scams Targeting Teenagers and Ways to Steer Clear of Them

The most fertile places for these scams are social media platforms, video games, online browsing, and shopping. 
Cover Image Source: Kids are spending a lot of time online | Pexels | Photo by Vanessa Loring
Cover Image Source: Kids are spending a lot of time online | Pexels | Photo by Vanessa Loring

Connecting people on social media was supposed to open up avenues for human interaction but now talking to unknown people is riskier than ever. One of the major problems about kids being online is that it attracts scammers who are looking to trick innocent minds. These scams happen when fraudsters try to lure kids and entice them with unreal fascinating things and convince them to swipe their parent's cards online. The most risky spaces for these scams are social media platforms, video games, online browsing, and shopping. 

Image Source: Pexels|Photo by Pixabay
Teens are getting scammed on social media (representative image) | Pexels|Photo by Pixabay

When we hear about online scams, we often think of senior citizens as they are the most vulnerable but the number of teens getting scammed is a cause for concern. Teenagers are lured into buying unreal game stuff, inappropriate images, or emotionally manipulated with fake promises, leading to massive financial loss.

Image Source: Pexels|Photo by Alex Green
Parents must teach kids about the warning signs of scams | Pexels | Photo by Alex Green

Between the period of 2017-2022, some astonishing numbers on scams targeting teens came out. Kids under the age of 20 ended up losing $210 million to these scams in just 2022 and an increase of 2,500% was seen, per Global Security Mag. One of the most crucial things parents can do is educate kids about these scams and also teach them about the warning signs. They must know how to tackle the situation when they are not near anyone or maybe alone.

Image Source: Pexels|Photo by Jaroslav Nymbursky
Scams that target gamers is common (representative image) | Pexels | Photo by Jaroslav Nymbursky

'Send me a pic'- sextortion scams

Sextortion is happening in all the states and between October 2022 and March 2023, the scams skyrocketed to 20% which is a troubling situation. The scammers earlier used to pick out adults but they are now setting their focus and target on teen boys. The South Carolina State House Rep. Brandon Guffey is working relentlessly on introducing harsh and strict punishments for scammers extorting teens in the 'Send me a pic' scam and then blackmailing them for money. Guffey's own son was a victim of this scam and sadly he died in July 2022.

Brand bandits

In today's world, kids are influenced by creators making reels and content through which they earn money. The teenagers think highly of them and believe that becoming a social media influencer can be a potential career. Online crooks often pretend to be real brands and make false promises about perks and benefits.

Game over 

Scams that target gamers are common, as teenagers get so involved in the game that they end up paying charges to anyone. Nowadays, games such as Fortnite have the option of in-game currency where they can buy equipment, upgrade their levels, and become premium. This gives scammers a lucrative option to access their credit cards and bank account details.

Online scams can harm a child's mental as well as emotional health besides affecting them and their families financially. Here's how teenagers can avoid falling prey to these scams.

1. Regularly keep your kids informed about online scams and keep them updated on what the potential risks are.

2. Make use of a strong password manager to lock the computers, laptops, phones, and iPads so that parents are aware of their kids' browsing.

3. Use two-factor authentication to make the online surfing more secure.

Image Source: Pexels|Photo by Budgeron Bach
Kids need to be protected against online scams (representative image) | Pexels | Photo by Budgeron Bach

4. Inform kids about how they should not purchase in-game stuff and other enticing things online. 

5. Don't give them access to credit cards or other payment wallets at an early age. 

6. Ask them to not send any photos to any outsider or even their relatives as phones can be hacked anytime.