Online dating scammers looking for money, not love

March 28, 2012
Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking is an authoritative peer-reviewed journal published monthly in print and online that explores the psychological and social issues surrounding the Internet and interactive technologies. Credit: ©2012 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers

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 a year, according to an article in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

The article is available free online at the Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and website.

"This crime is very serious and unfortunately often overlooked. The costs to the victim are both hidden (emotional) and more visible (monetary)," says Brenda K. Wiederhold, PhD, MBA, BCIA, Editor-in-Chief of Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, from the Interactive Media Institute, San Diego, CA.

Online dating scammers pretend to initiate a through online dating services and then defraud their victims of large sums of money over a period of months or longer. Monica Whitty, University of Leicester, UK, and Tom Buchanan, University of Westminster, London, UK, document the rapid growth in these and how cybercriminals pursue and steal from their victims. They describe the devastating financial and emotional losses the victims suffer.

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