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The research catalogue is an archive of ESRC-funded grants and outputs. Links, files and other content will no longer be maintained or updated after April 2014.

An examination of the online romance scam

Grant reference: RES-000-22-4022

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Journal article details

Anatomy of the online dating romance scam
This paper has been accepted with minor revisions with the Security Journal. The revisions are currently in progress. The abstract reads: The Online Dating Romance Scam is a relatively new form of online fraud. This paper draws from two qualitative studies: an analysis of posts from a public online support group and in-depth interviews with victims of this crime to outline the anatomy of this scam. It is argued here that there are four distinct stages of this crime. In the first stage the criminal creates an attractive profile to draw in the victim, in Stage 2 the criminal grooms the victim, priming them to send money, in Stage 3 the criminal begins to request funds from the victim (there a four potential trajectories at this stage), and finally at Stage 4 the victim is sexually abused. Non-financial victims never move to Stage 3 and most victims do not move to Stage 4. Understanding the anatomy of this scam is important for prevention as well as psychological treatment.

Primary contributor

Author Monica Whitty

Additional details

This article is not yet in press and the date of publication is yet to be determined. The editor of the journal wrote that the paper will be accepted on the proviso that the minor changes recommended were made.
Palgrave Macmillan
01 August 2013
Security journal