fall prey to

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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.
See also: fall, prey, to
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

fall prey to

1 be hunted and killed by. 2 be vulnerable to or overcome by.
See also: fall, prey, to
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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.
See also: fall, prey, something, to
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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.
See also: fall, prey, to
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
* James Dobson's Focus on the Family (FOF) has come up with a novel theory as to why so many political leaders seem to fall prey to sex scandals: Women on Capitol Hill dress too provocatively.
Raymo explores the reasons why so many of us cling to antique cosmologies or fall prey to pseudoscientific scams, concluding that much of our desire for transcendence is rooted in the fear of death.
"The biggest reason that many new investment clubs fold within two years is because many members fall prey to a get-rich-quick mentality and they cash out early on, which creates animosity between members," explains Robert Lancaster, president of the seven-year-old New Freedom Investment Club in Durham, North Carolina.
Over time, however, these defenses themselves fall prey to attacks by radicals.
The Coordinated Issue Paper states that the "significance or materiality of the discount is a question of fact to be determined on a case-by-case basis." Thus, while it is likely that taxpayers that make deeply discounted purchases (such as the 60% and 94% discounted purchases in Hamilton Industries) will fall prey to separate item treatment, it is less clear that moderate or slight discounts should subject taxpayers to such a regime.
Sharks fall prey to sport and commercial fishing alike, and the one-two punch is having a serious impact on their numbers.
The narrative, interrupted by prose-poem interludes, chronicles the struggles of the Joad family's life on a failing Oklahoma farm, their difficult journey to California, and their disillusionment once they arrive there and fall prey to a parasitic economic system.
"By shopping price, many businesses, particularly those within the real estate market, could fall prey to audits performed by consultants not necessarily qualified for particular projects."
He said that country, not individuals were important and the accountability should not fall prey to politics.
They pointed out that the people fall prey to heart, liver, bone, skin, intestines, hepatitis and cancer complications after drinking arsenic contaminated water.
Summary: New Delhi [India], Sept 2 (ANI): The newly-introduced Goods and Services Tax (GST) is creating operational and procedural issues for companies, the most recent to fall prey to the new tax regime being cement major ACC Ltd.
Police have urged people not to fall prey to blackmailers and report them immediately.
These children, according to UNICEF, are denied parental care and can easily fall prey to kidnappers and human traffickers.