New research looks at a new form of cybercrime involving online romantic dating services.
Experts say the crimes are often under-reported with victimized participants suffering monetary and emotional scars.
A new article in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking suggests that 230,000 people have been victimized in England alone.
Moreover, researchers believe that more than $60 billion is spent each year for services that are fraudulent.
In the study, Monica Whitty, Ph.D., of the University of Leicester, UK, and Tom Buchanan, Ph.D., of the University of Westminster, London, document the rapid growth in these serious crimes and how cybercriminals pursue and steal from their victims.
Researchers discovered that the 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.
“This crime is very serious and unfortunately often overlooked. The costs to the victim are both hidden (emotional) and more visible (monetary),” said Brenda Wiederhold, Ph.D.
Source: Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.