​Online frauds: learning from victims why they fall for these scams

Author(s) Button, Mark, Carol McNaughton Nicholls, Jane Kerr and Rachael Owen
Title Online frauds: learning from victims why they fall for these scams
Source Australian & New Zealand Journal of Criminology; 2014, Vol. 47, No. 3, p 391-408
Date 2014
Document type Journal article
CoverageEngland and Wales
Summary For this study focus groups with victims of online fraud were conducted to explore how online fraud is committed, perceptions about the seriousness of the fraud, the culpability of the offender and mitigating and aggravating factors in the crime. In addition impacts of online fraud were also explored through in depth interviews with victims, particularly victims of sensitive or extensive frauds. The participants had experienced a wide range of online frauds including romance scams, fake online auctions and identity theft. The main reasons victims fell for scams was discussed in detail and some of the tactics used were identified such as mass targeting for small amounts of money, authority and legitimacy, and appeals to basic needs such as money, sex, love, pain and sorrow. Many of the frauds created were embarrassing which made it less likely that the victim will report it and romance scams were further discussed in this category. Other tactics identified were pressure and coercion, grooming in romance scams by initially asking for small amounts of money, and fraud often conducted from a distance it was unlikely for the victim to confront the offender. It is suggested that the results of the study can be used for prevention of future online frauds.
Keywords Online fraud; scams; victims; fraudster; techniques.
Topic Non-violent crime