be/fall prey to something
fall prey to (someone or something)
To have one's vulnerability exploited by someone or something, leading to harm, destruction, or manipulation; to become a victim of someone or something. It is unfortunately very common for elderly people to fall prey to online scam artists, who take advantage of their lack of technological know-how. Many major cities have fallen prey to terrorist activity in recent months.
fall prey to something
COMMON If you fall prey to something bad, it happens to you or you are affected by it. On the flight from Paris to Toulon, Mechiche fell prey to panic. Children in evacuation centres are falling prey to disease.
fall prey to1 be hunted and killed by. 2 be vulnerable to or overcome by.
be/fall ˈprey to something(formal) be harmed or affected by something bad: He was often prey to doubt and despair. ♢ Thousands of small businesses are falling prey to high interest rates.
Prey is an animal, a bird, etc. that is hunted, killed and eaten by another animal.
fall prey to
To be put into such a vulnerable position as to be at risk of harm, destruction, or invasion: a person who fell prey to swindlers; did not want the country to fall prey to terrorists.