Children Increasingly Targeted by Scammers
American news site CNBC recently published an article on scammers targeting children and hitting it big.
FBI figures released state that American teens were scammed out of a whopping $101.4 million during 2021. Compare that figure with 2017’s $8.3 million, and it is one hell of a scary increase over a four-year period.
Well, you could say that’s in America, South Africa is different, etc. But kids are kids, and South Africa has a very well-developed technology environment. Obviously, the pandemic contributed a lot to the increase in digital crime, but that isn’t the full picture.
Children growing up with digital platforms such as TikTok and Instagram are used to interact with random strangers. They consider it normal, and while it helps with social development, it also an opening for scammers to win their trust simply to mislead or extort them. Even Discord, very popular in South Africa, which is an online gaming community and messaging app, recently saw a rise in scammers.
Teaching young people about the prevalent scams, together with basic safety rules, such as not sharing their personal information with strangers (nor photos!), not following suspicious links, together with cybersecurity best practices, will go a long way in ensuring their safety. Remember, people who does not get scammed, are generally those knowing what to look out for.