A new study says online scam victims aren’t always seen as legitimate victims of crime and are characterised as greedy and gullible.

When it comes to online scams, victims can’t always expect much sympathy.

Many are actually characterised as greedy and gullible and responsible for their own plight.

A new study says police don’t necessarily treat online fraud victims in the same manner as other victims of crime, even though the consequences can be just as dire.

They extend beyond financial loss to physical harm, stress, psychological trauma and even suicide.

The Australian Institute of Criminology study said victims of online fraud had the same rights as other crime victims but the unique character of this type of crime meant those rights had little impact in practice.

Because most such frauds originate overseas there’s little police can do and most reported cases are not even investigated.

“While all crime victims have the right to be treated with courtesy compassion and respect, for many online fraud victims this can be problematic,” it said.

It cited a Queensland study of 85 Queensland seniors ripped off in online frauds, who were often characterised as being greedy and gullible individuals responsible for their own victimisation.

It refers to UK research which found some victims encountered a negative and derogatory response from police.

That’s because the typical online “Nigerian” scam entices victims to pay advance fees, which can amount to thousands, in the expectation of an eventual payout of millions.

“While victims of online fraud experience levels of harm similar to other victims of crime, they are often not seen as being legitimate victims,” the study said.