Exploring internet users' vulnerability to online dating fraud: Analysis of routine activities theory factors
This paper investigates factors affecting susceptibility to online dating fraud victimization among a sample of 110 Internet users. Demographic factors such as age, income, marital status, employment, education, and country of residence are analyzed. Applicability of Routine Activities Theory to online scams is discussed, and variables such as computer use and proficiency, awareness of online scams, past experience with international dating, and interest in online dating are analyzed. Study differentiates between likelihood and severity of victimization. Findings indicate that factors most likely to affect vulnerability to online dating fraud victimization are: interest in online dating, interest in international dating, and years of computer use. Contrary to expectations, none of the demographic factors and none of the variables measuring level of awareness about online scams were statistically significant. For many variables, patterns of likelihood of victimization were different from the patterns of severity of victimization.