Consumer and Business Deception on the Internet: Content Analysis of Documentary Evidence

Stefano Grazioli and Sirkka L. Jarvenpaa
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 7, Number 4, Summer 2003, pp. 93.

Abstract: Internet deception threatens the sustainability of Internet commerce because it undermines trust. This paper investigates the deceptive tactics available on the Internet and some of the factors that make them more or less likely to be adopted. An established theory of deception is applied to the Internet context to identify the deception tactics available on-line. The theory is then expanded with new hypotheses that link the selection of a specific tactic to the identity of the target and the purported identity of the deceiver. Content analysis of a broad range of documentary evidence published between 1995 and 2000 is used to build a database of 201 cases of Internet deception. Data from the database are used to test the hypotheses. The results suggest that deceivers select tactics as a function of their targets as well as their own purported identities. Practical implications for deterrence, prevention, and detection of Internet deception are discussed.

Key Words and Phrases: Internet deception, Internet fraud, computer crime, electronic commerce, information security.