Online dating scammers pretend to start a romantic relationship through the services available on the web and then cheat their victims of huge sums of money over a period of months or longer.
Online romance scams, a new form of cybercrime, is under-reported and increasing, and has victimized an estimated 230,000 people in England, costing them nearly 60 billion dollars a year, according to an article.
“This crime is very serious and unfortunately often overlooked. The costs to the victim are both hidden (emotional) and more visible (monetary),” said Brenda K. Wiederhold, PhD, MBA, BCIA, Editor-in-Chief of Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, from the Interactive Media Institute, San Diego, CA.
Monica Whitty, University of Leicester, UK, and Tom Buchanan, University of Westminster, London, UK, document the rapid growth in these serious crimes and how cybercriminals pursue and steal from their victims.
They have described the devastating financial and emotional losses the victims suffer.
The study has been published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.