Australian Institute of Criminology

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The relationship between age and consumer fraud victimisation

Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice no. 519

Penny Jorna
ISSN 1836-2206
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, November 2016

Abstract |The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates consumer fraud costs Australians $1.4b per year. Advances in technology allow fraudsters to reach an increasing number of potential victims. Age has long been considered a potential factor in the risk of victimisation; however, it remains unclear which age groups are most vulnerable.

This paper examines the relationship between age and the risk of consumer fraud, using the results of online surveys conducted by the AIC on behalf of the Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce in 2011 and 2012. The surveys found statistically significant relationships between age and how invitations were received; age and frauds resulting in victimisation; and age and those who sent money in response to invitations.

Targeted, age-specific awareness-raising campaigns may be an effective means of reducing the risk of consumer fraud. Initiatives that address the risks associated with lifestyle factors such as social networking, online dating and the use of both new and existing technologies may be of particular benefit.