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

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Online frauds have become a major problem in many countries with millions of victims from a wide diversity of scams committed in full or part online. This paper explores the extent and nature of this problem. Using data from depth interviews with 15 online fraud victims, 6 focus groups with a further 48 online fraud victims and interviews with 9 professional stakeholders involved in combating this problem. The paper explores why victims fall for online scams. It identifies a range of reasons including: the diversity of frauds, small amounts of money sought, authority and legitimacy displayed by scammers, visceral appeals, embarrassing frauds, pressure and coercion, grooming, fraud at a distance and multiple techniques.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-408
Number of pages18
JournalThe Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology
Issue number3
Early online date28 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014


  • Online_frauds

    Rights statement: Button M, Nicholls CM, Kerr J, Owen R. Online frauds: Learning from victims why they fall for these scams. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Criminology. 2014;47(3):391-408. doi:10.1177/0004865814521224.

    Accepted author manuscript (Post-print), 819 KB, PDF document

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