How Much Is Your Age Group Affected by Online Fraud?

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Digital Pickpocketing

The pandemic has given rise to another plague: Online fraud. Internet scammers are flourishing as more of us conduct our day-to-day lives online, including shopping, banking, and communicating with friends and family. But who among us is most vulnerable to online scams? Are younger generations as digitally savvy as we think they are? Fraud-prevention company SEON compiled data broken down by age group to get a better idea of who's the most affected by online fraud, and some of the details may surprise you.

Related: 15 Things You Should Never Buy Online

Everything you need is online

20-29 Years

Average loss per victim: $2,789 

The age group — made up of older members of Gen Z and younger millennials — lives up to its reputation as tech-savvy with the lowest average loss of any age group. There were just under 71,000 online-fraud victims in 2020 in this age group, accumulating $197.4 million in losses.

Related: How to Recognize IRS Fraud, Vaccine Cons, and Other Big Phone Scams

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Under 20 Years

Average loss per victim: $3,061

Younger members of Gen Z aren't quite as up to speed as their older counterparts, despite practically growing up with a smartphone in their hands, but they also have fewer assets. Overall, there were 23,186 victims in this age group, losing a combined total of $70.9 million. 

Related: 14 Things That Boomers Can Learn From Millennials and Gen Zers

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40-49 Years

Average loss per victim: $7,832 

Generation X is always complaining that it's overlooked, but scammers seem to have missed the memo. More than 91,000 people in this age group lost more than $717 million to online fraud in 2020. 

Related: The Most Notorious Corporate Scammers in U.S. History

When debt becomes a reality

60+ Years

Average loss per victim: $9,174

Surprise! The oldest group of Internet users, made up of boomers and the Silent Generation, didn't lose the most money, on average. Still, their losses were significant. More than 105,000 victims had a combined loss of roughly $966 million.

Related: Watch Out for These Scams Targeting Seniors

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50-59 Years

Average loss per victim: $9,864

It's actually older Gen Xers and younger boomers who have the dubious distinction of losing the most, on average, to online scammers. There were nearly 86,000 victims in this age group in 2020, with a total loss of nearly $848 million. 

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Under-20 Age Group Sees the Biggest Rise in Online Fraud

There was a much-larger-than-normal rise in victims of online fraud in 2020, a trend that cuts across age groups and one SEON speculates is partially thanks to the pandemic forcing more people online. Still, of all age groups, it was the youngest — under 20 — that saw the biggest bump, a staggering 116% rise.

  1. Under 20 (116%)
  2. 40-49 (77%)
  3. 50-59 (70%)
  4. 30-39 (67%)
  5. 20-29 (59%)
  6. 60+ (55%)

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Which States are Hardest Hit?

State-by-state comparisons show that residents of certain states lose much more, on average, to online scams. Here are the hardest-hit states, and the average losses per incident:

  1. North Dakota ($39,724)
  2. Missouri ($16,638)
  3. Ohio ($14,631)
  4. District of Columbia ($10,462)
  5. Utah ($10,243)
  6. New York ($9,592)
  7. Texas ($8,945)
  8. California ($8,771)
  9. Georgia ($8,240)
  10. Connecticut ($8,171)