The study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, also shows that less-educated consumers are more likely to be susceptible to the opportunity for a large reward.
However, the presence of an activation fee helped reduce intention to comply with the scam.
Scripps - College - USA - Analysis - Adults
Led by Scripps College, USA, the analysis of over 500 adults sampled over the course of two experiments was designed to identify the underlying psychological factors involved in responding to MMS.
In the study, based on 25 real scam solicitations that were successful at 'hooking the victim' in and around Los Angeles, USA, the chance to win a large sum of money such as $25,000 influenced the perceived risks of participation -- including the possibility of identity theft, and further persuasive tactics by scammers.
Study - Activation - Fees - Prize - Interest
The study also explored how activation fees (eg pay $5 and you can claim your prize) might impact interest in responding to the scams.
The researchers found the most important factor in deciding whether to respond was the person's assessment of the risk versus the potential reward. Almost half of their subjects indicated an interest in responding, which was more than researchers had anticipated.
Study - Requirement - People - Activation - Fee
When the study added a requirement that people pay an activation fee of $5 to $100, nearly a quarter of the subjects still had an interest in responding.
Among the demographic variables, age and education independently predicted responses after controlling for the activation fee, such that older adults and highly educated participants were less likely to "make the call," and high activation fees deterred individuals reporting a high likelihood to respond.
Professor - Yaniv - Hanoch - Professor - Decision
Professor Yaniv Hanoch, Professor of Decision Science in the University of Plymouth's School of Psychology, said: "While prior research models have explored primarily the way the marketing ploys are presented to consumers, the recent research delves into the individual differences of the scam victims themselves.
"On the one...
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I find it extremely funny when people keep voting and expecting the government to change!