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Romance Scam Research Center

2020: AU: Is There a Scam for Everyone? Psychologically Profiling Cyberscam Victims

Whitty, Monica Therese.  European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research; Amsterdam Vol. 26, Iss. 3, (Sep 2020): 399-409. DOI:10.1007/s10610-020-09458-z

Abstract: "By studying the psychological profile of cyberscam victims, we may be able to develop more effective methods to reduce the rates of this type of cybercrime substantially. This paper examined which psychological and socio-demographic characteristics predicted cyberscam victimhood, in general, and across individual cyberscams (including, consumer, charity, investment, and romance scams). In line with the hypotheses, more impulsive and neurotic individuals were more likely to be scammed by cyberscams, in general. Contrary to the hypotheses, those who scored high on internal locus of control, men, and educated people were more likely to be tricked by cyberscams, in general. Some important differences between the types of cyberscams were also identified. Investment scam victims were more likely to be older, men, and score higher on internal locus of control compared with the other cyberscam victims. Consumer scam victims, in contrast to other scam victims, were more likely to be women and were less educated. The work here suggests that there is merit in systematically characterizing different types of cyberfrauds and examining, in detail, a typology of cyberscam victims by scam type. It suggests that a ‘one size fits all model’ to explain cyberscam victimhood is limiting."

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