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Title: Anatomy of the Online Dating Romance Scam
Authors: Whitty, Monica T.
First Published: 11-Feb-2013
Citation: Security Journal, 2015, 28, pp. 443-455 (13)
Abstract: The Online Dating Romance Scam is a relatively new form of online fraud. This article draws from three qualitative studies: an analysis of posts from a public online support group, in-depth interviews with victims of this crime and an interview with a Serious Organised Crime Agency officer to outline the anatomy of this scam. It is argued here that there are five distinct stages of this crime. In Stage 1, the criminal creates an attractive profile to draw in the victim; in Stage 2, the criminal grooms the victim, priming them to send money; in Stage 3, the criminal begins to request funds from the victim (there a four potential trajectories at this stage); in Stage 4, which only a few went through, the victim is sexually abused via cybersex; and finally Stage 5 is the revelation. Understanding the anatomy of this scam is important for prevention as well as psychological treatment.
DOI Link: 10.1057/sj.2012.57
ISSN: 0955-1662
eISSN: 1743-4645
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Security Journal. The definitive publisher-authenticated version Security Journal (2015) 28, 443–455. doi:10.1057/sj.2012.57 is available online at:
Description: The file associated with this record is under a 12-month embargo from publication in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy, available at The full text may be available through the publisher links provided above.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Media and Communication

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