Online fraud victimisation in Australia: Risks and protective factors

Dr Russell Smith1, Ms Catherine Emami2, Ms Penny Jorna1

1Australian Institute Of Criminology, Canberra, Australia, 2Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, Canberra, Australia

This paper presents the findings of a study conducted by the Australian Institute of Criminology in partnership with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Scamwatch staff. Online questionnaires were administered to two independent, exactly-matched samples of Australians – 566 victims of online fraud and 321 individuals who shopped or socialised online but were not victimised. Statistical analyses were undertaken to determine if any personal or behavioural indicators made some individuals more vulnerable to online fraud than others. Factors that were not predictive of victimisation included the number of hours spent using the internet each week, the number of computer security measures used, and personality traits of trusting strangers, helping those in need, making impulsive decisions and relationship status. Several differences were, however, predictive of victimisation – those who were less familiar with online activities were more likely to become victims of fraud, while victims were more likely to send money via electronic funds transfers than other forms of payment. The findings provide an opportunity for financial institutions and money transfer businesses to give specific information and advice to individuals at risk of scam victimisation who make use of these payment systems.


Biography:

Dr Russell G Smith has worked at the Australian Institute of Criminology for over 20 years, and has published extensively on economic crime, cybercrime and fraud. He originally practised as a solicitor in Melbourne and, after completing a PhD at King’s College London, taught criminology at the University of Melbourne. He is a Fellow and former President of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology and holds a position as Professor at Flinders University.

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