Profile – Scams Awareness Week – HDR student – Rebecca Layt

This year’s Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) and Scams Awareness Network’s (SAN) Scams Awareness Week is being held this week from 8 – 12 November 2021.

The theme for this year is let’s talk scams, to encourage all Australians to talk about scams with family, friends, and colleagues to raise awareness, educate, and empower consumers to protect themselves.

ACCC’s Scamwatch reported that Australians lost $176.1 million to scams last year, up by 23.1 per cent from 2019. Statistics like these provide a good reminder that scams are ongoing, very active, and are becoming more sophisticated.

Today we would like to profile a PhD student researching in the area of fraud and cybercrime.

Rebecca Layt is a current PhD candidate in the School of Justice, interested in all things fraud and cyber crime. She completed her dual Bachelor of Psychology and Bachelor Justice, achieving first class honours in 2020. Her research interests include ransomware, digital vigilantism, and online fraud. This has informed her most recent publication, co-authored with Associate Professor Cassandra Cross, titled “I suspect that the pictures are stolen: Romance Fraud, Identity Crime, and Responding to Suspicions of Inauthentic Identities” (2021).

Rebecca’s current PhD project is investigating the range of motivations behind individuals engaging in catfishing, the practice of fabricating online identities on social media. Despite recent media depictions of catfishing, such as Netflix’s Clickbait (2021) and Love Hard (2021), little is known about why individuals engage in deliberate deception online, particularly when no financial incentive is present.

The project aims to provide a stronger understanding of motivations behind catfishing and gain insight into the range of tactics used to develop fraudulent relationships online.

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