Caught in the Scammer’s Net: Risk Factors that May Lead to Becoming an Internet Fraud Victim, AARP Survey of American Adults Age 18 and Older

Authors: AARP: Doug Shadel, Karla Pak, and Jennifer H. Sauer

Year: 2014

Focus Area (s): Victim Profiling, Fraud Surveys, Consumer Behavior, Prevention Techniques

Relevance: Identifying risk factors for being victimized by internet fraud may help identify and protect those who are most vulnerable.

Summary: This multi-state survey of over 11,000 individuals age 18 and older sought to answer three questions:

  1. Are there behaviors and life experiences that may increase a person’s risk of becoming a victim of online fraud?
  2. What proportion of individuals may be at risk of being victimized by online fraud?
  3. How concerned are Americans about online fraud and what if any steps are they taking to protect themselves?

Key findings include:

  • Nearly one in five Americans (19%) who use the internet, or as many as 34.1 million people, engage in at least 7 of the 15 behaviors or experience life events that may put them at increased risk of being victimized by online fraud.
  • Two-thirds of Americans (65%) who use the Internet, or as many as 116 million, people received at least one online scam offer in 2013.
  • Nearly eight in ten (79%) Americans who use the Internet are concerned about being scammed on the Internet.

First Paragraph: A new AARP survey finds there are 15 particular behaviors, life experiences, and knowledge attributes that may make a person more vulnerable to online fraud. Data from this national and multi-state survey of over 11,000 online users also shows that Americans are very concerned about online fraud, yet many avoid taking basic precautions to protect themselves.

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