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Romance Scam Research Center

2015: AU: No laughing matter: Blaming the victim of online fraud

No laughing matter: Blaming the victim of online fraud

Cassandra Cross

Volume 21, Issue 2

Abstract: "There is a strong sense of negativity associated with online fraud victimization. Despite an increasing awareness, understanding about the reality of victimization experiences is not apparent. Rather, victims of online fraud are constructed as greedy and gullible and there is an overwhelming sense of blame and responsibility levelled at them for the actions that led to their losses. This belief transcends both non-victims and victims. The existence of this victim-blaming discourse is significant. Based on interviews with 85 seniors across Queensland, Australia, who received fraudulent emails, this article establishes the victim-blaming discourse as an overwhelmingly powerful and controlling discourse about online fraud victimization. However, the article also examines how humour acts as a tool to reinforce this discourse by isolating victims and impacting on their ability to disclose to those around them. Identifying and challenging this victim-blaming discourse, as well as the role of humour and its social acceptance, is a first step in the facilitation of victim recovery and future well-being."

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