Spot the Scam

The Cause

Young people today are under big pressure. Think about it. Everyone knows that making mistakes is part of growing up. Yet in today’s world—where money is invisible and spending intangible—quick and easy decisions can mean big consequences costing thousands for themselves and their families.
Adulthood has evolved to be less about age and more about financial independence-only achieved through better money habits and financial knowhow. In spite of a glut of financial literacy content, results aren't happening. Today, young people report they lack of life-ready knowledge to build financial stability. So why aren’t we moving the needle on financial illiteracy?
Marketing experts see that financial literacy educators have been swimming upstream. Their methods fail to compete with manipulative marketing campaigns–aimed at convincing teenagers to forego things like easy credit. Case in point: After conceding defeat on the battle against obesity, researchers at the University of Chicago have found a path that influences behaviour. They’ve developed a program that unmasks the manipulative marketing practices used to hook youth on addictive foods. The results: students became motivated to make sustainable, healthier food choices. Imagine applying this approach to financial literacy education?
FrogskinU is committed to youth growing up to be money smart and consumer savvy. That’s a powerful combination. We put speed bumps in the decision-making process of an instantaneous consumer driven world.
With a decade of knowhow, we’re ready to leap ahead with our latest innovation: Spot the Scam. Young people will paddle through our simulated seas of schemes, experiencing firsthand the art of being scammed.
Spot the Scam packs include scenarios faced by a diverse age group and community, by type of swindler-type and delivery method. Decks include scam assessment, prevention insights with direction for further action–played individually or by groups large and small—building confidence to face the latest and greatest schemes. Fun and interactive, Spot the Scam simulates the real world that increases in complexity and stakes with age. Multi-media lesson supports game-play. Scorecards measure your ‘slimability’ factor, providing valuable insight on how to safeguard money and resources. The ripple effect is baked into our method. Students pass on their knowledge to friends and family members. With your support, Spot the Scam will prevent even more of us from being duped.

Who Will it Benefit?

We’ve seen that youth in all communities are vulnerable to keeping their money safe. Unfortunately, this persistent behaviour is often outside of teacher and parents’ purview. We know that it’s hard to keep up with those sparkly objects that are demanding their kids’ attention. We also know that, if consumer fraud experts can’t keep up with the latest and greatest fraud, how can educators and parents? The bottom line—we’ve seen firsthand that all ages can be taken in—if the hook is dangled at just the right angle. And the stakes are getting more costly every year.
Research shows that they easily fall prey through confirmation bias— showing significant bias towards peers’ hearsay. When faced with assessing risk vs reward, they would frequently rely on money myths and wishful thinking.
In FrogskinU’s 2018/19 pilot of Spot the Scam, more than 500 students took part. Our program testing shows students, along with their families, can learn and retain key strategies to keep their money safe.
The social impact of teaching our youth to avoid financial pitfalls and build a strong financial foundation is priceless. Growing evidence suggests that building soft skills such as managing money can help young people transition to become active and responsible citizens within their households, communities. Building this critical life-skills reduces financial stress in families and has a lasting impact on the future of our youth. Although factors such as income, social norms and other behavioural biases influence people‘s spending habits, delayed gratification and self-control is undoubtedly one of the most critical predictors behind financial stability. Through gameplay, Spot the Scam engages students to use a behavioural framework for disciplined spending, saving and investing.
Through print and digital editions, Spot the Scam will be available to educators and community leaders across Calgary and area. Youth will become more aware with knowhow to identify schemes and scams. They will be able to avoid having their family become entangled in a fraudster’s web.
“The kids were engaged and learned a ton—so did the parents!” –4H Club Parent Leader
“Spot the Scam provides youth of all ages with the tools they need to understand and navigate the complexities of the financial world. It prepares them to think critically as consumers and equips them for the financial challenges they are faced with.” –Mark Pallas, Enforcement Department, IIROC