Scam Compliance and the Psychology of Persuasion

34 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2014

See all articles by David Modic

David Modic

University of Exeter; University of Cambridge

Stephen E. G. Lea

University of Exeter - College of Life and Environmental Sciences

Date Written: June 21, 2013

Abstract

Social psychologists have established various psychological mechanisms that influence perception of risk and compliance in general. The empirical investigation in this paper focused on how those mechanisms apply to complying with scams. A scale of susceptibility to persuasion was developed, validated and then applied to the phenomena of scam compliance in two studies. In the first study participants answered questions on the susceptibility to persuasion scale and a series of questions about lifetime compliance with 14 fraudulent scenarios. The scale was factorised and tested for reliability. Four reliable factors contributed to susceptibility to persuasion: influence of authority, social influence, self-control and the need for consistency. The susceptibility to persuasion scale was then used to predict overall lifetime scam compliance. Social influence, the need for consistency and self-control all had an impact on universal scam compliance. In the second study an independent sample of participants filled out the susceptibility to persuasion scale and answered questions measuring scam compliance for the past three years across nine fraudulent scenarios. The susceptibility to persuasion scale was validated and confirmed. Scam compliance over the past three years was measured and the results showed that authority, social influence, the need for consistency and self-control all informed scam compliance over that period.

Keywords: Internet fraud, Persuasion, Scam Compliance, Psychology, Self-control, Social Influence

JEL Classification: C7, M3, Y8

Suggested Citation

Modic, David and Lea, Stephen E. G., Scam Compliance and the Psychology of Persuasion (June 21, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2364464 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2364464

David Modic (Contact Author)

University of Exeter ( email )

Washington Singer Laboratories
Perry Road
Exeter, Devon EX4 4QG
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.ex.ac.uk/psychology

University of Cambridge ( email )

Computer Laboratory, William Gates Building
15 JJ Thomson Avenue
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire CB3 0FD
United Kingdom
00441223767014 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk

Stephen E. G. Lea

University of Exeter - College of Life and Environmental Sciences ( email )

The Queen's Dr Exeter
Devon, EX4 4QJ
United Kingdom

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