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Communications of the Association for Information Systems

Abstract

The issue of online threats is a topic of widespread notoriety and the target of voluminous research. In spite of this, recommended treatments do not seem to have been completely effective, as indicated by the prominence of identity theft among complaints to government agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission. The goal of this research is to produce a more complete and nuanced understanding of this problem and thus provide better guidance toward preventing identity theft. This work offers a 2 x 2 experiment that manipulates both Threat conditions and Response Efficacy in concert, testing for an interaction effect of Threat and Response Efficacy on Behavioral Intention, Fear, and Hopelessness. Our results indicate that a high Threat condition increases users’ intentions to take action against an online threat, as expected. However, we also find that Response Efficacy plays a critical role in how individuals react to online threats. Response Efficacy is found to relate negatively to Hopelessness. In addition, Fear is measured and discussed.

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