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Susceptibility to COVID-19 scams: Does age matter?

Susceptibility to COVID-19 scams: Does age matter?
Susceptibility to COVID-19 scams: Does age matter?
As the COVID-19 pandemic was unfolding, a surge in scams was registered across the globe. While COVID-19 poses higher health risks for older adults, it is unknown whether older adults are also facing higher financial risks as a result of COVID-19 scams. Here, we examined age differences in vulnerability to COVID-19 scams and individual difference measures (such as impulsivity, ad skepticism, and past experiences with fraud) that might help explain them. A lifespan sample (M = 48.03, SD = 18.56) of sixty-eight younger (18–40 years, M = 25.67, SD = 5.93), 79 middle-aged (41–64 years, M = 49.86, SD = 7.20), and 63 older adults (65–84 years, M = 69.87, SD = 4.50) recruited through Prolific completed questions and questionnaires online. In a within-subjects design, each participant responded to five COVID-19 solicitations, psychological measures, and demographic questions. Age group comparisons revealed
that older adults were marginally less likely to perceive COVID-19 solicitations as genuine than middle-aged adults were. In addition, older adults perceived significantly fewer benefits than both younger and middle-aged adults did and perceived marginally higher risks than younger adults did. Hence, older adults did not exhibit greater vulnerability to COVID-19 scams. Regardless of age, intentions to respond to COVID-19 solicitations were positively predicted by higher levels of educational attainment, being married, past fraud victimization, and higher levels of positive urgency. As expected, stronger genuineness and benefit perceptions positively predicted action intentions, whereas stronger risk perceptions negatively predicted action intentions As such, COVID-19 scam susceptibility appears to be the result of a impulse control issue that is not easily
inhibited, not even by past experiences of scam victimization.
1664-1078
Nolte, Julia
fc15b4bb-c174-487d-b752-4280c51f408e
Hanoch, Yaniv
3cf08e80-8bda-4d3b-af1c-46c858aa9f39
Wood, Stacey
f73c11f1-c315-4812-9eb9-5d4cb5b395ad
Hengerer, David
26ab7898-603e-4caa-a8f4-49938dcedaef
Nolte, Julia
fc15b4bb-c174-487d-b752-4280c51f408e
Hanoch, Yaniv
3cf08e80-8bda-4d3b-af1c-46c858aa9f39
Wood, Stacey
f73c11f1-c315-4812-9eb9-5d4cb5b395ad
Hengerer, David
26ab7898-603e-4caa-a8f4-49938dcedaef

Nolte, Julia, Hanoch, Yaniv, Wood, Stacey and Hengerer, David (2021) Susceptibility to COVID-19 scams: Does age matter? Frontiers in Psychology, 12, [789883]. (doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2021.789883).

Record type: Article

Abstract

As the COVID-19 pandemic was unfolding, a surge in scams was registered across the globe. While COVID-19 poses higher health risks for older adults, it is unknown whether older adults are also facing higher financial risks as a result of COVID-19 scams. Here, we examined age differences in vulnerability to COVID-19 scams and individual difference measures (such as impulsivity, ad skepticism, and past experiences with fraud) that might help explain them. A lifespan sample (M = 48.03, SD = 18.56) of sixty-eight younger (18–40 years, M = 25.67, SD = 5.93), 79 middle-aged (41–64 years, M = 49.86, SD = 7.20), and 63 older adults (65–84 years, M = 69.87, SD = 4.50) recruited through Prolific completed questions and questionnaires online. In a within-subjects design, each participant responded to five COVID-19 solicitations, psychological measures, and demographic questions. Age group comparisons revealed
that older adults were marginally less likely to perceive COVID-19 solicitations as genuine than middle-aged adults were. In addition, older adults perceived significantly fewer benefits than both younger and middle-aged adults did and perceived marginally higher risks than younger adults did. Hence, older adults did not exhibit greater vulnerability to COVID-19 scams. Regardless of age, intentions to respond to COVID-19 solicitations were positively predicted by higher levels of educational attainment, being married, past fraud victimization, and higher levels of positive urgency. As expected, stronger genuineness and benefit perceptions positively predicted action intentions, whereas stronger risk perceptions negatively predicted action intentions As such, COVID-19 scam susceptibility appears to be the result of a impulse control issue that is not easily
inhibited, not even by past experiences of scam victimization.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 23 November 2021
e-pub ahead of print date: 15 December 2021

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 453075
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/453075
ISSN: 1664-1078
PURE UUID: 0d66cdc2-2854-490e-ae36-0c76da00098e
ORCID for Yaniv Hanoch: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-9453-4588

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 07 Jan 2022 17:51
Last modified: 08 Jun 2022 01:57

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Contributors

Author: Julia Nolte
Author: Yaniv Hanoch ORCID iD
Author: Stacey Wood
Author: David Hengerer

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