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The University of Southampton
Psychology

Research project: Analytical Reasoning and Internet Fraud Susceptibility

Currently Active: 
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The COVID-19 pandemic has had enormous economics, health, psychological, and social costs on people across the United Kingdom. As its impact was reverberating across the globe, another epidemic was unfolding.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had enormous economics, health, psychological, and social costs on people across the United Kingdom. As its impact was reverberating across the globe, another epidemic was unfolding. Capitalizing on people’s confusion, fear, uncertainties and lack of knowledge, scammers and fraudsters were quick to adopt to the new reality as the BBC reports that Google blocks 18 million COVID-based scams per day (Tidy, 2020). Indeed, the police, National Crime Agency, the National Trading Standards, AgeUK, and many other organizations have also alerted the UK public about the growing threat financial scammers represent. Scammers have used a range of techniques to deceive people. One of the most common one has been the creation of fake websites. These fake websites pretend to collect donations to help charitable organizations, global relief efforts, and the NHS. In reality they are nefarious facades designed to steal personal information, money, and banking details from well-intentioned citizens. As a result, millions of pounds have been lost and kept out of the hands of some of our most vulnerable citizens. With financial scammers working overtime there is an alarming paucity of research on the underlying psychological processes leading people to fall victim to scammers or how to harness psychological science to protect people in the future.

In this program of research we systematically investigate a psychological process, analytical reasoning, that may help solve both of these issues.

Principal investigator: Dr Nick Kelley

Co-investigator: Dr Yaniv Hanoch

Related research groups

Centre for Research on Self and Identity (CRSI)
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