Those who score highly on measures of addiction find it more difficult to ‘walk away’ from the scammer and the scam once it has started, and surprisingly sometimes even when they are informed by the authorities that they have been scammed.The explanation is that the scam victims are similar to gamblers in that they get caught up in the process, perceiving it as a ‘near win’ situation.In fact, the opposite was the case with better educated people more likely to be scammed. Previous research by Fisher, Lea and Evans (2013) suggested that overconfidence may cause people to be more vulnerable and therefore it may be the case that better educated individuals are confident that they can identify a scam whereas in reality they cannot. The participants in this study were 11,780 people from the UK who completed an online survey.10,723 were not victims of scams, 728 were one-off victims, with 329 being repeat victims.It could be that less kind individuals have fewer social networks (presumably as a result of being less kind), and therefore focus more of their time on the fake relationship created by scammers and thus fall victim.
The reason given for the monetary request is usually some kind of emergency for example they have to pay an unexpected hospital bill arising from a sudden illness or accident.Finally, there was no difference between those who reported they had high knowledge of cybersecurity compared to those who reported they knew little. However, knowledge of cybersecurity was measured with only one item, which may not have been sensitive enough to detect any real difference in this. Overall then it seems that impulsive and trusting people with addictive personalities are more likely to become victims of scams. Furthermore, it is females who are middle aged who are also likely to be more vulnerable. The findings from this research provide insight into the types of people likely to become scam victims, and have implications for scam awareness and scam prevention. Secondly, respondents who scored high on trust in others were more likely to be the victims of dating scams.