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Fraud victimization across the lifespan: evidence on repeat victimization using perpetrator data.

Older adults are thought to be more susceptible to scams, yet understanding the relationship between chronological age and victimization is limited by underreporting. This study avoids underreporting bias by merging four longitudinal databases of Americans ( N  = 1.33 million) who paid money in response to mail scams over 20 years. We investigate the risk of repeat victimization and victimization by multiple scam types over the life course. Victims in their 70s and 80s are 9% more likely to experience another victimization incident than those in their 50s. Those age 18 to 29 are 24% less likely to experience another victimization incident. Relative to adults in their 50s, the odds of victimization by multiple scams are greater for those in their 60s and 70s, but lower for those 80 + . This study demonstrates the research potential in using scammers' data to understand patterns of victimization. Fraud prevention efforts should target older individuals who are at higher risk of repeat victimization and suffer greater losses as a result.

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