Cabin Fever and Online Fraud?

The loneliness brought on by a long winter can make people more vulnerable to online fraudsters, according to a study from the AARPs New York chapter.

AARP New York said that winter isolation, or “cabin fever” often causes people to spend more time online, and more likely to reach out in ways that make them vulnerable to scam artists.

In the study, Caught in the Scammer’s Net, participants were asked 15 questions probing their online behaviors. It found that risky online behaviors can be more prevalent among people who have experienced certain life events, such as feeling isolated or lonely or losing a job.

These conditions can make people more likely to do things — such as signing up for free trial offers – that make them more likely to fall into the grip of online fraudsters.

Among those who have been the victim of online scammers, issues such as relationship problems, the loss of a friend or family member or a change in financial status are often present. Such events can make people feel lonely or isolated, and more likely to reach out to others online. Often, the most receptive counterparties online are, in fact, scammers.

But, even someone who hasn’t experienced a job loss or broken relationship can have these feelings of loneliness and isolation. Spending too much time cooped up inside during a long, cold winter will do the trick. This winter – with its nasty weather — has been particularly harsh for people in many parts of the country.

People would be well-advised to keep their credit cards in their wallets, and to focus on getting out of the house more. After all, spring is right around the corner.

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