Publication Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MS)

Committee Chair

Houson, Kate


Cyber-crime and cyber criminality are a growing threat in today’s society. As people gradually become more interconnected through technological advances, the potential for cyber-crime grows. As this issue expands into broader territories, new methods must be implemented as a means to combat it. One of the issues facing those attempting to police cyber-crime is that it is easier to hide and cover the evidence trail for crimes committed in cyber-space than it is for crimes committed outside it. Because of this, law enforcement and intelligence agencies are turning to a new tool in the fight against cyber-crime: sources. However, the issue of source recruitment in the cyber arena is a complex one. This research represents a first step towards scientifically investigating these methods of source recruitment. A total number of 249 Texas A&M International University students were studied across two experiments to determine the effectiveness of the social influence techniques of liking, authority, and scarcity within letters as a method of cyber source recruitment. Letters were implemented as a means to initiate communications with participants, with each letter containing a different tone and timeframe in which to respond to said letter. A 2 (letter tone: authoritative vs. friendly) x 2 (response delay: 7 days vs. 14 days) between-subjects experiment was designed to investigate whether the tonality of the letter and the response window will impact participant’s response rate. It was predicted that an authoritative tone with the shorter response window would yield a higher response rate than that of the other letters. Though data from Experiment 1 showed no significant difference between letter types or response timeframes, the results from Experiment 2 indicated that a friendly tone with a shorter timeframe for response garnered more cooperation from participants, whereas participants under the authoritative tone took longer to respond.