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The psychology of cybercrime
The psychology of cybercrime

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The psychology of cybercrime


In this free course, The psychology of cybercrime, you will explore different questions about cybercrime from a psychological angle in an attempt to better understand this relatively recent field of psychology. You will consider the realms and limits of cybercrime, distinguishing between the different types of cybercrime (e.g. trolling, cyber-stalking, fraud, hacking), the experiences of being victims of cybercrime and the causes behind engaging in these types of criminal activity. Finally, current interventions will be highlighted.

Even though cybercrime is broadly encompassing all the different types of crime committed online, it is important to emphasise very early on that it is likely to be committed by offenders with different characteristics, motivations and behaviours than those who commit other types of crime. As a result, those online criminal activities share similarities with offline equivalents (e.g. fraud and online fraud). The interest in studying the psychology of cybercrime both from the perpetrator and victim perspectives has arisen in an attempt to understand what makes cybercrime unique or similar to its offline counterpart.

Content warning

Cybercrime victimisation can affect both adults and children who engage online. Please find links to two useful guides that give tips on to stay safe online:

  1. Cybercrime and online safety [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] developed by West Yorkshire police.
  2. Supporting your child’s wellbeing by the NSPCC.

This Open Learn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course DD802 Investigating forensic psychology. Explore the collection of Postgraduate study in psychology and criminology.