Routine online activity and internet fraud targeting: Extending the generality of routine activity theory

Travis C. Pratt, Kristy Reisig, Michael Reisig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

188 Scopus citations

Abstract

Routine activity theory predicts that changes in legitimate opportunity structures (e.g., technology) can increase the convergence of motivated offenders and suitable targets in the absence of capable guardianship. The Internet has fundamentally changed consumer practices and has simultaneously expanded opportunities for cyber-fraudsters to target online consumers. The authors draw on routine activity theory and consumer behavior research to understand how personal characteristics and online routines increase people's exposure to motivated offenders. Using a representative sample of 922 adults from a statewide survey in Florida, the results of the regression models are consistent with prior research in that sociodemographic characteristics shape routine online activity (e.g., spending time online and making online purchases). Furthermore, indicators of routine online activity fully mediate the effect of sociodemographic characteristics on the likelihood of being targeted for fraud online. These findings support the routine activity perspective and provide a theoretically informed direction for situational crime prevention in a largely unexplored consumer context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-296
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Research in Crime and Delinquency
Volume47
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 30 2010

Keywords

  • Internet fraud
  • Routine activity theory
  • Victimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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