Can Educational Interventions Reduce Susceptibility to Financial Fraud?
49 Pages Posted: 14 Jan 2021 Last revised: 16 Jan 2021
Date Written: December 11, 2020
Financial fraud is pervasive and can be devastating for its victims. While numerous campaigns designed to warn and educate consumers about financial fraud exist, there is very little evidence on whether these initiatives are effective at reducing susceptibility to scams. We conduct a randomized experiment among a representative sample of U.S. adults and find that short, online educational interventions can meaningfully reduce fraud susceptibility, and that effects persist for at least three months following a reminder. Investigating mechanisms, we find no evidence that the educational intervention reduced willingness to invest generally, but rather increased knowledge which participants were able to selectively apply. We find that beneficial effects are concentrated among individuals who are more likely to invest, particularly the financially sophisticated. Our results indicate that brief financial education interventions can meaningfully reduce susceptibility to financial fraud.
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