Research Paper: Fear of Cybercrime in Europe – Examining the Effects of Victimization and Vulnerabilities by Suvi M. Virtanen

Originally published by The Australian and New Zealand Association of Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, Published online May 16 2017


This study utilizes aspects of Ferraro’s risk interpretation model in order to examine how social and physical vulnerabilities and victimization experiences relate to fear of online crime using Eurobarometer survey data. The results of the regression analyses show that individuals with prior cybercrime victimization experiences, women, and individuals with lower social status and lower confidence in their ability to use the Internet report higher levels of fear. Low social status and low confidence was found to have a significant interaction effect with prior victimization experiences in relation to fear of cybercrime. Prior victimization experiences with online fraud appear to increase fear of cybercrime in low social status individuals more than other groups. Experiences with hacked accounts or cyberattacks also intensifies the fear of those with low confidence more than those with a higher amount of confidence. Overall, the results of this study indicate that social and physical vulnerabilities as well as victimization have direct and indirect effects on fear of cybercrime, just as with traditional place-based crimes.

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Key words: cybercrime, fear of crime, online crime, risk interpretation model, victimization, vulnerabilities




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