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Not Your Grandparents’ Fraud: Millennials More than 4 Times as Likely than the Elderly to Experience Fraud 

August 22, 2023

Telesign Team

2023 Telesign Trust Index Reveals Changing Demographics Around Online Fraud

LOS ANGELES – August 22, 2023 – Telesign, the leading provider of customer identity and engagement solutions, today released more data from its 2023 Telesign Trust Index, which highlights the dynamic and ever-changing nature of online fraud. The survey reveals that a new—and much younger—demographic is being targeted, expanding the scope of digital fraud beyond the common perception of the vulnerable elderly. 

According to the Telesign Trust Index, younger individuals are also at risk of being targeted by fraudsters. The study found that greater exposure to the Internet significantly increases the probability of succumbing to fraud, and individuals who spend more time online per day are statistically more likely targeted. Notably, the group spending the most time online is 18- to 34-year-olds, with 75% spending 3 or more hours online per day, closely followed by 35- to 54-year-olds, with 70% of this group spending 3 or more hours online per day. 

The 2023 Telesign Trust Index is a first-of-its-kind study to examine the critical role that trust plays in the digital world. The survey found that contrary to popular belief, fraud targets people across all age groups. Millennials, specifically consumers aged 25-44, are more than 4 times (46%) as likely to experience fraud compared to their parents or grandparents aged 65 and above (11%). SEON’s Gen-Z Fraud Report found that individuals younger than 20 were subjected to a staggering 116% increase in fraud incidents between 2019 and 2020, resulting in collective losses of approximately $70.98 million in 2020, or $3,000 per person.  

“The statistics are shocking and counter to what we’ve always believed. Many of us have had to help our aging parents or relatives navigate the waters of bad actors, but once you dive deeper, you realize that the world of digital fraud has evolved significantly, and it’s no longer just our elderly loved ones who are at risk,” said Kristi Melani, CMO & GTM Strategy at Telesign. “The Telesign Trust Index shows that a new generation is now falling prey to fraud due to their extensive online presence. The expanding scope of digital fraud means that it’s essential for everyone, regardless of age, to stay vigilant about the potential dangers lurking in the online world.” 

The Telesign Trust Index also highlights a gender disparity in fraud. The survey found that 66% of fraud victims were women, compared to 34% men. One possible explanation is that women, on average, spend more time on their mobile devices compared to men. 

The survey also reveals that respondents with children in their households spend statistically more time online per day compared to those without children and are also more likely to come in contact with fraud. These findings emphasize the need for enhanced protection measures to safeguard vulnerable individuals, including parents and their children, from online threats. 

While organizations like the FTC monitor online fraud, investigations can be time-consuming and costly, making it nearly impossible for the average consumer to reach a satisfactory resolution. It’s the responsibility of companies, not individuals, to prioritize and ensure the protection of digital privacy. Consumers are increasingly concerned about digital fraud, and they expect companies to be accountable for preventing it. Failure to do so not only impact the consumer’s financial and psychological well-being but also tarnishes a company’s reputation and bottom line. 

“The 2023 Telesign Trust Index serves as a wake-up call for organizations, underscoring the need to prioritize trust and take concrete steps to protect their customers,” continued Melani. “To combat the rising tide of online fraud, the Telesign Trust Index emphasizes the importance of balancing security best practices with user experience. It calls for businesses to implement proactive fraud prevention strategies and employ digital privacy protections and cutting-edge technologies such as machine learning (ML) to establish an environment of Continuous Trust™. By adopting robust fraud prevention measures and ensuring the trust of their consumers, businesses can thrive in the digital economy and emerge as the most trusted entities in their respective industries.” 

Telesign recently introduced the Continuous TrustTM Authority, a collection of resources, insights, and experts working together to help the world become a more trustworthy place, offering a deeper understanding into the critical role of trust in the digital economy. The Trust Index is one of the key components of the program. By bringing together the best minds and technology in the industry, the Continuous Trust™ Authority serves as a hub for the latest information on fighting fraud.  

Telesign’s suite of Continuous Trust™ solutions help its customers prevent the transmission of 30+ million fraudulent messages each month and protect over 1 billion accounts from takeovers every year, allowing companies and customers to engage with confidence. With powerful machine learning and extensive data science that delivers identity with speed, accuracy, and global reach, Telesign is empowering companies to transact with their customers free of fear, making the promise of the digital economy possible. 

Methodology:  
This Telesign Trust Index Survey was fielded online and reached a total of n=1,000 respondents. Respondents were U.S. adults aged 18+; a subset of which have experienced digital fraud within the past three years. The survey was fielded in January 2023 by FINN Partners. The margin of error for a sample size of 1,000 is +/- 3.10 percentage points at a 95% confidence level. 

For more information and to download the Trust Index report, click here

About Telesign 
Telesign provides Continuous Trust™ to leading global enterprises by connecting, protecting, and defending their digital identities. Telesign verifies over five billion unique phone numbers a month, representing half of the world’s mobile users, and provides critical insight into the remaining billions. The company’s powerful machine learning and extensive data science deliver identity with a unique combination of speed, accuracy, and global reach. Telesign solutions prevent fraud, secure communications, and enable the digital economy by allowing companies and customers to engage with confidence.  

Learn more at www.telesign.com and follow us on X, formerly known as Twitter at @Telesign. 

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