Love at first sleight: a review of scammer techniques in online romance fraud

Marc Kydd*, Lynsay A. Shepherd, Andrea Szymkowiak, Graham I. Johnson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Romance fraud, where a scammer exploits a victim for monetary gain under the guise of ‘true love’, is a relatively new form of cybercrime which has become increasingly prevalent. Attempts to tackle romance fraud have been made by law enforcement and dating platforms. The latter commonly utilise awareness campaigns, informing users about the risks associated with online dating and how to spot warning signs. However, such campaigns tend to be overly generic, repeatedly giving the same advice. Other campaigns provide vague or outdated advice, which leaves readers unable to protect themselves. This paper presents a state-of-the-art review of the varying approaches that scammers can take on the path to exploiting their victims both in selecting a suitable target and keeping them engaged as part of the scam. Findings highlight that methods by which scammers target, select, and exploit victims of romance fraud can vary greatly. Rather than following a strict structure as depicted in awareness campaigns, romance fraud is a continually evolving, and unique form of cybercrime with multiple variations at each stage of the process. These variations also lay the foundations for future studies on the overlap of cybercrime and abuse, and the role of organised crime in romance fraud.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the International Conference on Cybersecurity, Situational Awareness and Social Media
Subtitle of host publicationCyber Science 2023; 03–04 July; University of Aalborg, Copenhagen, Denmark
EditorsCyril Onwubiko, Pierangelo Rosati, Aunshul Rege, Arnau Erola, Xavier Bellekens, Hanan Hindy, Martin Gilje Jaatun
Place of PublicationSingapore
PublisherSpringer
Pages327-341
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9789819969746
ISBN (Print)9789819969739, 9789819969760
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Feb 2024
EventThe International Conference on Cybersecurity, Situational Awareness and Social Media: Multidisciplinary & Multidimensional Cybersecurity - University of Aalborg, Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 3 Jul 20234 Jul 2023
https://c-mric.org/

Publication series

NameSpringer Proceedings in Complexity
PublisherSpringer
ISSN (Print)2213-8684
ISSN (Electronic)2213-8692

Conference

ConferenceThe International Conference on Cybersecurity, Situational Awareness and Social Media
Abbreviated titleCyber Science 2023
Country/TerritoryDenmark
CityCopenhagen
Period3/07/234/07/23
Internet address

Keywords

  • Romance fraud
  • Online dating
  • Scams
  • Cybercrime
  • Human-centred cybersecurity

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