The article “Incoming millennial fraud tidal wave” was written by Bret Hood and discusses the vulnerability of millennials to fraud owing to their unique characteristics. Millennials are major targets of fraudsters because of two main reasons, namely optimism and careless habits in the use of social media. Millennials are a topic of discussion because of their dependence on technology and poor lifestyle choices. Some people consider them selfish while others describe them as tech-savvy. They are targeted by fraudsters because of their direct purchasing and indirect spending power. In addition, they are involved in the financial decision-making of businesses and organizations.
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Millennials are victims of fraud because of their overoptimistic natures. The view that situations will have positive outcomes increases their vulnerability to scams because it compromises their vigilance. In addition, it leads to an optimism bias in decision-making that compels them to choose certain outcomes without a thorough analysis of available alternatives. Many millennials fall prey to fraudsters because they fail to conduct due diligence before making critical decisions.
Millennials are also targeted by scammers because of their overwhelming confidence in themselves and their capabilities. A 2015 report released by the International Organization of Securities Commissions revealed that overconfidence is a critical factor in evaluating an individual’s vulnerability to fraud. Millennials are tech-savvy but possess sloppy social media habits that expose them to the risks of fraudulent schemes.
Their expertise emanates from many years of exposure to various technologies that are used to socialize and work. However, their proficiency is not applied wisely because many of them do not protect their personally identifiable information (PII) when using social media and other online platforms. For example, they are careless and store sensitive personal information such as PINs and passwords on their mobile phones that can be easily accessed and stolen by hackers. Moreover, many of them use singular passwords for multiple online accounts thus increasing the risk of a security breach. Consumers experience huge losses due to fraud.
For example, in 2014, identity theft led to losses of $16 billion after fraudsters got access to consumers’ credit cards and bank accounts passwords. A major challenge experienced by organizations is the frequent access to business networks by employees using workplace mobile phones. A survey conducted by Lookout revealed that many firms experience data breaches because of employees’ propensity to use mobile devices at work. The risk of exposure to fraud is enhanced by millennials’ reliance on mobile devices to perform work-related duties.
A major weakness that exposes millennials to fraudsters is the tendency to access bank accounts and do transactions over public Wi-Fi networks. Public networks are unsafe and favored by fraudsters because they lack stringent security measures to protect users. In certain cases, fraudsters set up public Wi-Fi services to steal users’ personal information. They use these networks to access the PII of unsuspecting individuals.
Early adoption of new technologies also exposes millennials to fraud because new innovations usually possess technical weaknesses that hackers exploit to access the personal information of users. The need to stay connected to friends through social media creates loopholes that fraudsters utilize to steal from unsuspicious millennials. Hackers use the personal information that people post on their social media accounts and other online platforms to coerce them into providing private information.