What psychological factors cause us to cheat in online fraud?
The hackers, or hackers, examine the structure and the way in which certain programs work to detect cracks in them and find opportunities to infect computers.
In the same way, the people who develop strategies to scam others through the Internet (and from the comfort of your home) have to put yourself in the skin of that person who want to cheat and detect the corners in which their way of making decisions leaves unprotected flanks to introduce the deception.
Are we vulnerable to online scams?
And the truth is that, as much as for some people these deceptions seem ridiculous as evident as they are, they have their "public" of poor Internet users who they end up giving their bank details without knowing they are falling into a scam . Moreover, there are people who, depending on the context and how they are found, could be victims of these deceptions at a certain moment and easily detect them in others.
This is, at least, one of the conclusions reached in a study conducted by AARP and published in a report called Caught in the Scammer's Net. This document explains the risk factors that could make us victims of fraud online, and many of them are amazing.
The weight of emotions
Traditionally we have been thinking that decision making is basically influenced by rational arguments. So, for example, deciding whether it is worth clicking or not on a link that has come to us through an e-mail would be based on assessing the pros and cons of that action, estimating the risks, and the value that is given to the possible usefulness of doing that action.
However, the AARP study shows that the emotional state in which people find themselves when exposing themselves to scams on the Internet is incredibly relevant. People who had just experienced a highly stressful experience , such as dismissal from your job or sudden loss of purchasing power, are significantly more likely to fall for these scams . In the same way, individuals with feelings of isolation and loneliness also fall more easily into these traps.
In the same way, the simple fact of being a more impulsive person with a tendency to carry out risky activities also predisposes us to fall into the online scam.
The explanation for this could be that staying in certain emotional states acts as a distraction that "lowers one's guard" and pays less attention to relevant information. Thus, non-rational factors would be making it more likely to choose one option than the other, regardless of whether, based on rational criteria, it is more or less attractive. This, incidentally, occurs even in the choice of partner.
The profile of the "easy prey"
Beyond situational factors, there are also certain personal characteristics that make some profiles especially prone to bite into cheating like this . For example, people who tend to register in the use of products to try the evaluation version that lasts a few days are easy prey, and the same happens with those who are more predisposed to share their birthday and their sentimental situation in social networks like Facebook (specifically, they have an 8% more chance of being deceived).
In turn, people predisposed to click on pop-ups (the little windows that open during browsing on the Internet to advertise things) have a 16% higher risk of being victims of the online scam.
The wisdom of the digital generation
It should be noted that these percentages do not indicate the potential danger that per se can have in pop-ups or put personal data on Facebook, but rather simply explains factors that predict the risk of falling into the online scam . Although all the pop-ups in which you click are harmless, the fact of clicking on them indicates that when the opportunity to fall into an online deception appears, it will be more likely to fall into it.
That means that there is a part of the population that surfs the Internet with a certain level of alert and that is not exposed to this type of risk, while other people are more confident in this regard or simply lack information on online actions that are safe and those that can be dangerous.
That is why the simple fact of knowing certain basic rules of the internet makes it much less likely to get caught on the hook of the online scam . People who know or are the privacy policies of a website or a service, for example, are less likely to be deceived, and the same is true for those who know that banks never send links to forms to fill out to "verify" personal information.
For its part, the experience in Internet browsing also influences. Among those who participated as volunteers in the research, those who have started using the Internet more recently were the ones who fell for the Nigerian prince who writes us to deliver a large amount of money, while the rest of users deleted that e-mail.