Each year, millions of unsuspecting Americans fall victim to financial scams or other fraud. A new study sheds light on what types of individuals are most likely to be defrauded by bad actors who are pervasive on the internet. 

“Certain people are more vulnerable to certain types of scams,” Gary Mottola, research director for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, told CBS News correspondent Anthony Pura.

For example, one fraud victim said she received a phone call from someone claiming to be an agent from the Internal Revenue Service. The con artist demanded $500 from the victim, who was led to believe she owed the department taxes. 

“They said, basically, if you don’t pay this we’re going to file a lawsuit against you for $75,000,” the victim, Jackie, whose name was changed to protect her identity, said in an interview with FINRA. 

Jackie, like the many others who fall prey to such schemes, paid up. 

Researchers from FINRA and the Better Business Bureau found that those who lost money were less likely to question authority, making them more susceptible to being conned. 

“You don’t want to mess with the IRS. That was my viewpoint at that point,” Jackie said. 

Mobile payment scams surge, report says


The study also found that scam victims sometimes fear coming off as ignorant if they ask too…

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