Metal handcuffs placed over the word fraud

Reluctance to challenge authority and fear of asking too many questions are among the personality traits that can make individuals more susceptible to investment scams, according to new research.

The two-year study aimed to identify the characteristics that make certain people more likely to lose their money to financial fraudsters, and the FINRA Investor Education Foundation reported that investigators found that pre-existing attitudes and beliefs may influence the way that people react to scams.

Specifically, the group reported that people were more likely to lose money if they believe that: authority shouldn’t be challenged; financial opportunities are a zero-sum game; good people get rewarded; and that asking too many questions can make you seem ignorant.

“This research gives us new ways to understand who is at risk for losing money to financial scams and opens novel possibilities for protecting people against different forms of fraud,” said Gerri Walsh, president of the FINRA foundation.

The group hopes the findings will “stimulate additional research and the development of effective strategies to reduce consumer losses,” she added.

The study was carried out by the FINRA foundation alongside the Better Business Bureau (BBB) Institute for Marketplace Trust and University of Minnesota. It was based on in-depth interviews with fraud victims and two former scammers.