Factors in Fraudulent Emails that Deceive Elderly People

  • Jean-Robert Nino
  • Gustav Enström
  • Alan R. Davidson
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10297)


Fraud over the Internet is an increasingly common phenomenon and very common in the form of emails. Though new forms of fraud appear, it is important to look at common denominators that have so far come to light, and try to determine how they should be addressed in order to create a safer stay for everyone on the Internet. With this as motivation, and with a special eye to groups that may be considered especially vulnerable, this study aims to investigate what factors in fraudulent emails that people aged 65 and older have difficulty identifying when they meet them.

The increasing use of the Internet, the target group’s vulnerability, and the increasing use of technology in everyday life imply that this kind of fraud is likely to be borne by society to an ever increasing extent. These factors paint a disturbing picture of how the situation is today and the direction in which the phenomenon is headed. It is therefore of interest to clarify which factors come into play in successful attacks against the target group in order to target countermeasures against this form of fraud. To accomplish this, a survey was conducted among residents of a nursing home and members of a Swedish national senior citizen organisation. The results from 122 respondents to our digital questionnaire show that the importance of technical factors in fraudulent email needs to be clarified for the studied group in order for them to make better, accurate assessments of the emails that they meet. The most common factor that the respondents failed to identify were links in the email that looked untrustworthy.


Fraud Phishing Elderly people Email Social engineering IT-Security in society Cybercrime Trust 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean-Robert Nino
    • 1
  • Gustav Enström
    • 1
  • Alan R. Davidson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Computer and Systems SciencesStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden

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