LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — You know those scam calls where the caller— who often possesses a foreign accent and a frantic manner of speech— claims to be from the IRS? It’s often thought that most victims are vulnerable senior citizens, but a surprising new study finds that millennials are significantly more likely to fall for their tricks.
First Orion, a telecommunications solutions firm, surveyed 1,000 Americans of various ages, hoping to learn the true prevalence and nature of calls in which the caller claims to be from the IRS.
Among those surveyed, it was found that nearly 40 percent had been contacted by an IRS impersonator.
In fact, IRS-based scams (27 percent) were the most common type of bogus call to receive, followed by cruise or vacation scams (25 percent), and bank or credit card scams (16 percent).
Overall, 73 percent of millennials, 83 percent of gen Xers, and 84 percent of baby boomers reported to having received any sort of scam call.
Although millennials were more likely to escape pesky phone charades, they were six times more likely to provide their credit card information (2.4 percent) and twice as likely to provide their social security number (1.6 percent) over the phone.
Some other interesting findings derived from the study include the fact that about 70 percent of respondents had received a scam call in the preceding month; 12 percent of those who had received a spam call had received 21 or more solicitations in the preceding six months; and 17 percent of millennials were found to be willing to divulge personal information over the phone, should the last four digits of their social security number be verified.
Nearly half expressed that they felt a cell phone carrier should prevent them from receiving fraudulent calls and texts, while almost three-fourths would be inclined to choose a carrier that did that work for them.
“Scammers are getting increasingly more aggressive,” notes Jonathan Sasse, First Orion’s CMO, of the issue’s increasing magnitude.
He particularly warns that spam calls increase around tax time.
“Last year, IRS scam calls went up 3x in the two months following tax day,” he discloses in a company press release, “and we can expect more of the same this year.”