Specifically, researchers propose that mental frames governing compliance, opportunity, intelligence, and order may have affected the way that interviewees interpreted what scammers told them. Individuals were more likely to lose money if they believed that:

  • Authority should not be challenged.
  • Financial opportunities are a zero-sum game with clear winners and losers.
  • The world is organized in a way that rewards good people.
  • Asking too many questions can make a person seem ignorant.

“This research gives us new ways to understand who is at risk for losing money to financial scams and opens novel possibilities for protecting people against different forms of fraud,” said FINRA Foundation President Gerri Walsh. “We hope these insights into the role that beliefs and attitudes play in fraud victimization will stimulate additional research and the development of effective strategies to reduce consumer losses.”

Study participants were identified from a pool of people who filed reports with BBB Scam Tracker℠, an online fraud reporting tool offered by the Better Business Bureau. Researchers from Metro Tribal, LLC, an ethnographic-based social insight firm, conducted in-depth interviews that yielded key insights.

The researchers spoke with 17 people who were targeted by scammers. In recorded interviews, some participants explained how scammers…

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