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.
"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 romantic relationship 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 serious crimes and how cybercriminals pursue and steal from their victims. They describe the devastating financial and emotional losses the victims suffer.
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