Keynote (CySSS)

last update: 21 March, 2022

Social and Emotional Context of Fraud Scams in Cyberspace

Dr. Loretta Stalans
Dr. Loretta Stalans
Loyola University
United States of America
Abstract: Most research on internet-frauds has focused on victims’ cognitive and personality vulnerabilities and ignored that scammers often have been victims of financial cyber-crimes. These victim-offenders expressed retaliation as a motive to offend and highlight the overlooked emotions and social learning contributing to cyber-scams. A broader understanding of the motives, emotions and knowledge of victim-offenders, solely offenders and solely victims might improve awareness campaigns and security training. In this talk, I use a life-course perspective of social learning to examine media and social sources, prior victimization, and knowledge and attitudes about relationships contribute to committing internet frauds. Data are drawn from two large self-report surveys of victimization and perpetration of a wide range of internet frauds. Deviant friends and family members, mentors, online discussions, and contacts in the dark web increase support for retaliation and provide praise for perpetrating internet-fraud. Those who attended victim support groups and have knowledge of dating app etiquette have more accurate knowledge about suspicious communications on dating apps. Beyond low self-control, psychopathy and committing frauds in the real world, those with higher rates of victimization more often perpetrated cyber-frauds. The life-course perspective suggests a broader view of the emotional and social context of offending might improve the content and focus of awareness campaigns and security training. These campaigns and training often ignore how scammers learn manipulative tactics from friends, family, media, and online sources. This focus also might enhance AI tools to detect and intercept fraudulent messages on dating and social media sites.
Speaker’s Bio: Loretta Stalans is a Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology with a dual appointment in Social Psychology at Loyola University Chicago. She received her PhD in Social Psychology from University of Illinois Chicago in 1990 with an area of expertise in the Psychology and Law field. She has published extensively in the areas of how people form attitudes particularly about sanctions, justice and deviant behaviors, and how people learn from others to support deviant behaviors, attitudes or beliefs. Her current research focuses on how the internet and social media facilitate the perpetration of and victimization from internet-related crimes, primarily phishing, identity theft, fraud, and sex trafficking. She recently edited a special issue on “How the Internet Facilitates Deviance” for Victims and Offenders (2016) and has published in many respected top-level journals such as Law and Human Behavior, Criminal Justice and Behavior, Deviant Behavior, Law and Society Review, Crime & Delinquency as well as co-authoring two books on public opinion about sanctions and crimes (Westview Press, 1997; Oxford University Press, 2003). Her work has been funded by the National Institute of Justice, Ford Foundation, and the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority.