Correlates of responding to and becoming victimized by fraud: Examining risk factors by scam type

Marguerite DeLiema, Yiting Li, Gary Mottola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Consumer fraud reports in North America have been increasing each year along with median fraud losses. Using survey data from 1375 American and Canadian consumers who previously reported a scam to a North American consumer complaint organization, this study examines the correlates of responding to and losing money to four categories of consumer fraud: opportunity-based scams, threat-based scams, consumer purchase scams, and phishing scams. Relative to opportunity-based scams that offer the promise of rewards, consumers were less likely to respond to and report losing money when solicited by threat-based scams and phishing scams. The odds of victimization were highest for consumer purchase scams. Risk factors, including gender, race, education, income, loneliness, financial fragility, and financial literacy, differed across scam categories, suggesting that victim profiles differ across fraud types. Some of the risk factors associated with responding to the scam solicitation (vs. ignoring it outright) were different from risk factors associated with victimization. Having advance knowledge of fraud prior to being exposed was protective across nearly all scam types. Results suggest that awareness about specific scams helps protect against financial loss. Additional research is needed on how to effectively deliver fraud awareness messages to those who are most susceptible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1042-1059
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Consumer Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. International Journal of Consumer Studies published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • consumer protection
  • elaboration likelihood model
  • financial fragility
  • financial literacy
  • fraud
  • persuasion


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