Checking my email account, i came across an email notifying me of a friend request on my social networking site. It was some boy i didn’t knew so, i ignored it. But it didn’t stop him. He kept on messaging me, complimenting me. This was disturbing me so i decided to analyse it. Online Romance Fraud, as the word suggest is a false trick that scammers use to fool people for money by pretending to be in a romantic relationship with them. Online Romance Scam is becoming so common that hundreds and thousands of victims suffer from great deal of financial loss or emotional distress every year. Knowing about online Romance fraud is important for people to protect from falling victim to dating scam. The reason people get trapped in this is because they don’t know what it is, their loneliness, their belief in romance and finally their emotions.
Absence of knowledge of what is happening around you can lead you in trouble. The scammers fake their profiles by displaying attractive photographs not necessary of themselves and making up information on dating website or social networking to target victims. Mostly people get attracted to someone who is successful and good looking. This is what scammers do, they pretend to be pretty woman or an handsome successful man who is searching for true love. That is their bait and when people get caught up they try to develop a false romantic relationship. When it’s done they try to emotionally blackmail them for money. They would tell them that they have been in an accident or are facing some family issues.
Another thing that triggers Online Romance Frauds is people being vulnerable and lonely. This could be possible from their previous relationships or recent breakups. “New online research led by the University of Leicester reveals that over 200,000 people living in Britain may have fallen victim to online romance scams - far more than had been previously estimated.” (UNIVERSITY OF LEICESTER, 2011). Research has shown that most people join online dating websites to conquer their loneliness. (UNIVERSITY OF LEICESTER, 2011). The romance scam victims are found more lonely as compared to people who does not fall for the trick.(SHANNON & DYSON, 2013 ). “According to the reports, the vulnerable lonely women are becoming the major target of online romance scammer” (SHANNON & DYSON, 2013). Sandra Ryan, a 40-year-old woman from Britain, was being alone after her parents died in her young age and her divorce with her husband. An online scammer scammed a great amount of money out of her by taking the advantages of her vulnerability and loneliness. The man “Mike” presented himself as a successful businessman acting decently and genteelly. “I was so vulnerable. Then this attractive man wooed me” (SHANNON & DYSON, 2013)However, Mike started to make up stories about his family and tried to convince Sandra to send him money. Sandra ended up lost more than £500,000 and suffered from emotional distress. Sandra says: ‘I was so naive, but I was also vulnerable. He knew I was still shaken by my divorce. He preyed on me, and ultimately controlled me.’(SHANNON & DYSON, 2013)
Romance belief makes it easier for scammers to fool people. It’s been proved by another study that people who are victims of online romance fraud believe in romance more than other people. Romance believer are Scam victims believe romantic destiny, which means two are meant to be together. (UNIVERSITY OF LEICESTER, 2011 ) Stupid or naïve, that’s how people describe the victims but however, romance scam is not about intelligence, it is about emotion. (Whitty, 2012)When Scam victims fall in love with someone on line, they usually believe they are in a true love relationship even though they never met with each other. Obsessing with romance belief let them to picture an image of a perfect half of that person. (Whitty, 2012 )Actually they fall in love with their imagination. “Our belief causes all the same brain changes