People aged between 21 and 30 are the most likely to have reported being scammed in recent months, according to a major bank.
Those aged between just 11 and 20 years old are being targeted in some cases.
However, people tend to perceive older people aged 71-plus as being most at risk of fraud, the research from Barclays found.
Barclays commissioned a survey of 2,000 people in July to compare people’s perceptions about who is most likely to fall for a scam with its own data on reported cases between April and June.
Its reported scams data found that over-70s were the victim in less than one in 20 (4.1%) cases.
Despite 21 to 30-year-olds being the most likely victims in Barclays’ scam reports, accounting for 29% of cases, people tended to assume older people are more likely to be scammed, the bank found.
After 20-somethings, people aged 31 to 40 were the next most targeted group for scammers, according to the bank’s data, representing 24% of cases.
Purchase scams, when people buy goods online which do not exist or never arrive, were particularly prevalent among those aged 21 to 30, Barclays found.
Its data also showed that scammers are successfully targeting young people aged 11 to 20, with this group representing 10% of total purchase scam victims.
People aged 31 to 40 were particularly targeted by advance fee scams – when victims send money in advance to secure goods, service or investment which never materialises.
Barclays said a father-of-two aged in his 30s was recently duped by an advance fee scam, which involved paying by bank transfer after he saw some kittens advertised online.
He said that on going to make a collection: “I arrived and there were about 15 other people stood around with empty cat baskets, and they all had the same story as me.”
The research also indicated that people aged 61 to 70 may be particularly susceptible to impersonation scams – particularly those claiming to be banks or the police – as well as investment scams.
Ross Martin, head of digital safety at Barclays, said: “Unfortunately, fraudsters don’t discriminate when it comes to scams and everyone, irrespective of age, is susceptible to them. The reality is that if you don’t think you’d ever get scammed, you’re the ideal victim.”
He added: “If anything raises your suspicions, talk to someone you trust and don’t ignore your concerns. Always phone the person or the company back on a trusted and validated number to confirm it’s really them, and if you do spot a scam, report it to the police, to help protect yourself and others.
“We can’t over-emphasise the importance of calling back and not trusting the number that has called you – often fraudsters will call from a number that looks identical to the number that a customer trusts.
“This impersonation of valid numbers is often a factor in duping customers into the scam. So if in doubt call back.”
Here are the age groups accounting for recently reported scams, according to Barclays’ data on victims:
– 11 to 20, 8.0%
– 21 to 30, 28.8%
– 31 to 40, 24.3%
– 41 to 50, 17.3%
– 51 to 60, 11.8%
– 61 to 70, 5.7%
over 70 – 4.1%