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Study focuses on a modern form of fraud: Online romance scams

ANI | Updated: May 17, 2020 22:28 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], May 17 (ANI): As the rapid development of digital communication technology has given rise to new forms of social interaction on social media, a recent study has found that around 1400, dating sites/chats have been created over the last decade in North America alone.
Solely in the UK, 23 per cent of Internet users have met someone online with whom they had a romantic relationship for a certain period and that 6 per cent of married couples met through the web. The study was published in the online open-access journal Clinical Practice & Epidemiology in Mental Health.
While communication technologies have revolutionised, and continue to revolutionise the modalities of interaction and the building of emotional attachment on the one hand, on the other, the online dating industry has given rise to new forms of pathologies and crime.

Online romance scams are a modern form of fraud that has spread in Western societies along with the development of social media. Through a fictitious Internet profile, the scammer develops a romantic relationship with the victim for 6-8 months, building a deep emotional bond with the aim of extorting economic resources in a manipulative dynamic.
There are two notable features: on the one hand, the double trauma of losing money and a relationship, on the other, the victim's shame upon discovery of the scam, an aspect that might lead to underestimation of the number of cases.
Sixty-three per cent of social media users and 3 per cent of the general population report having been a victim at least once. Women, middle-aged people, and individuals with higher tendencies to anxiety, romantic idealisation of affective relations, impulsiveness and susceptibility to relational addiction are at higher risk of being victims of the scam.
Understanding the psychological characteristics of victims and scammers will allow at-risk personality profiles to be identified and prevention strategies to be developed. (ANI)