‘It’s a multibillion dollar industry’: Scams targeting young adults in the Tx Panhandle

VIDEO: ‘It’s a multibillion dollar industry’: Scams targeting young adults in the Tx Panhandle
Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 5:57 PM CST
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Nationally, senior citizens are the main target of scams but in the Texas Panhandle, that’s not necessarily the case.

Young adults, ages 18 to 24, are highly targeted but less money is taken from them. Senior citizens are targeted less but more money is taken, experts said.

Janna Kiehl, president of the Better Business Bureau, says young adults are more likely to be scammed due to their online presence.

“They are online more, they are on social media a lot more, and they’re not aware of how to prevent scams or what to say ‘no’ to,” said Kiehl.

Amarillo Police Department says they see scams of all types, ranging from phone calls, text messages, emails, and direct messages on social media.

“Young adults are very tech savvy, but they’re always on technology. So your information is out there. There’s not anything that you’re not doing online,” said Sgt. Carla Burr, public information’s officer for APD.

Scams targeting young adults typically look like social media customer service representatives reaching out over text to say their account will be deleted, suspended or it has another issue.

Account services will only send a verified email to your email linked to your accounts.

Burr said scams are unlikely to stop, due to profits scammers can make when taking advantage of individuals.

“It’s a multibillion dollar industry. That’s why they continue to, it’s why it’s getting worse because they make so much money at it,” said Burr.

The BBB says young adults are preyed on more due to their lack of knowledge of scams compared to senior citizens who seek out the education.

“They just haven’t heard about it yet, they’re learning through getting scammed,” said Burr.

Social media scams often try asking for money through gift cards over a direct message, but the account will have little to no followers, or posts made.

If anyone asks for money through gift cards, it is most likely a scam.

They say though younger individuals are more at risk in the Panhandle, no matter your age, you can be a victim of scam.

“If a scammer calls you and says or contact you in any way and you’re responsive, they’re going to scam you. That’s their job. That’s what they do. That’s what they want from you,” said Kiehl.

The BBB and APD says if you are approached by a person, and something is too good to be true to always fact check it first.

“When you have an offer or something comes in unsolicited and an email, a text message or even the mail, always check it out first,” said Kiehl.

Kiehl also states if an offer is legitimate, it can wait a few days to confirm.

Never give out personal information, such as account numbers, social security numbers, or login information.

If you have been a victim of a scam, report it to the BBB’s scam tracker.

APD also offers educational services on scams, and can be contacted to set up a class.