Internet fraud: The influence of Identity Flexibility and Dissociative Anonymity
The purpose of this paper is to investigate the influence of identity flexibility and dissociative anonymity on internet fraud, focusing on the cyber deception and theft. Four victims, three culprits, and an experimental website were used to collect data for case study analysis. The researchers employed qualitative and quantitative data analysis for the study. Content analysis of interview transcriptions and results obtained from experimental website were used as the main data collection sources and tools. This study found that victims of internet fraud were defrauded by culprits who clearly practiced the application of identity flexibility and dissociative anonymity in their illegal endeavours. Despite the authenticity of registered crime related users on the experimented website, the true/actual identity of users could not be confirmed even though their credentials were technically validated before being saved. Findings shown in the study confirm the theoretical postulate that “identity flexibility, dissociative anonymity and lack of deterrence factor in the cyberspace provides the offenders the choice to commit cybercrime”. The findings are also consistent with extant studies on the isolated studies that indicate anonymity as the trump card of most cyber criminals. Findings from culprits suggests that they make a conscious effort to satisfy all requirements but without genuine identification and credentials. Practical implications study provides some recommendations for fraud prevention on the internet. The major one is the need for practitioners and future researchers to emphasize on development of solutions that serve as a reliable check on authenticity of users as well as deterrent to all fraudulent users. This study is original, as it focuses on internet fraud that is highly pervasive as per previous research findings
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