Journal article Open Access

The Role of Love stories in Romance Scams: A Qualitative Analysis of Fraudulent Profiles

Kopp, Christian ; Layton, Robert; Sillitoe, Jim ; Gondal, Iqbal

Jaishankar, K

The Online Romance Scam is a very successful scam which causes considerable financial and emotional damage to its victims. In this paper, we provide a perspective that might be helpful to explain the success of this scam. In a similar way to the “The Nigerian letter”, we propose that the scam techniques appeal to strong emotions, which are clearly involved in Romantic relationships. We also assume that the same success factors found in normal relationships contribute to the success of the romance scam. In an exploratory study using a qualitative analysis of fraudulent profiles from an international dating website, we examined this assumption. The findings show that personal affinities related to personal romantic imaginations, which are described by personal love stories, play an important role in the success of a romance scam.

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