In an attempt to understand how differently fraud works depending on a victim’s age, we have examined the effects of situational (lifestyle-routine activities), self-control, and sociodemographic variables on scam victimization across age groups. The analysis was carried out on a national sample of 2,558 Americans, representative by age, sex, and race, and includes additional factors such as their education, living arrangement, employment, and propensity for reporting a crime or asking for help. The results substantiate research findings of the contribution of self-control and LRAT in predicting victimization in general but could not identify major situational and individual differences between older and younger Americans’ scam victimization. However, employment can function as a protective factor for older individuals in some online fraud scenarios. Furthermore, older adults show significantly more reluctance in asking for help or reporting than do younger ones. Future research must address these differences. The author also suggests developing specific variables for measuring how lifestyle-routine activity theory works in scam victimization.

Note on the Author(s)

Katalin Parti is an Assistant Professor of sociology at Virginia Tech. Fulbright and Max Planck Scholar, she has research in cybercrime victimization and offending.

The study has been funded by the Institute for Society Culture and Environment at Virginia Tech in 2020.