SCARS™ Psychology of Scams: Psychology Of The Online Dating Romance Scams – A Research Report [PDF]

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SCARSSCARS SCARS - Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc. A government registered crime victims' assistance & crime prevention nonprofit organization based in Miami, Florida, U.S.A. SCARS supports the victims of scams worldwide and through its partners in more than 60 countries around the world. Incorporated in 2015, its team has 30 years of continuous experience educating and supporting scam victims. Visit www.AgainstScams.org to learn more about SCARS.Psychology of ScamsPsychology Of Scams Psychology Of Scams is the study of the psychological or emotional effects of scams or financial fraud on victims of these crimes. It helps victims to better understand the impact of scams on them personally or on others. To find the SCARS articles on the Psychology of Scams, use the search option to enter the term and find them.: Psychology Of The Online Dating Romance ScamsScams A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime -  is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost. – A Research Report [PDF]

The Psychological Consequences Of Being A Victim Of The Online Dating Romance ScamScam A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime -  is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost.

Research Undertaken at The University of Leicester

This report summaries a year-long project, led by Professor Whitty, which examined the online dating romance scam. The three main aims of the project were to: identify psychological characteristics of individuals which raise their risk of becoming victims; examine the persuasive techniques employed to scam victims of the online dating romance scam; examine the psychological consequences of being a victim of the online dating romance scam.

Principal Investigator: Professor Monica Whitty (University of Leicester), Co-investigator: Dr. Tom Buchanan (University of Westminster)
Report compiled: April, 2012

Report Executive Summary

This report summaries a year-long project, led by Professor Whitty, which examined the online dating romance scam. The three main aims of the project were to: identify psychological characteristics of individuals which raise their risk of becoming victims; examine the persuasive techniques employed to scam victims of the online dating romance scam; examine the psychological consequences of being a victim of the online dating romance scam.

Drawing from the qualitative work conducted in the project a summary of the anatomy of the scam is made.

Study 1 considered the types of people more at risk of this scam. The only finding was that those high in romantic beliefs were more likely to be victims, in particular, those who have a high tendency toward idealizationIdealization Demonstrating inaccurate rationalizations, idealizations, or justifications of the perpetrator’s behavior, particularly if the perpetrator is or was a caregiver. Other similar reactions mirror idealization; traumatic bonding is an emotional attachment that develops (in part to secure survival) between perpetrators who engage in interpersonal trauma and their victims, and Stockholm syndrome involves compassion and loyalty toward hostage-takers. of romantic partners. Contrary to statistics gained on the reporting of this crime, middle-aged women were not more likely to be victims of this crime.

Study 2 examined the three main objectives of the project. This study examined 200 posts on a public online peer supportPeer support Peer support occurs when people provide knowledge, experience, emotional, social or practical help to each other. It commonly refers to an initiative consisting of trained supporters and can take a number of forms such as peer mentoring, reflective listening (reflecting content and/or feelings), or in a support group. Peer support is also used to refer to initiatives where colleagues, members of self-help organizations and others meet, in person or online, to give each other connection and support on a reciprocal basis. Peer support is distinct from other forms of social support in that the source of support is a peer, a person who is similar in fundamental ways to the recipient of the support; their relationship is one of equality. A peer is in a position to offer support by virtue of relevant experience: he or she has "been there, done that" and can relate to others who are now in a similar situation. Trained peer support workers such as SCARS Volunteers receive special training and may be required to obtain Continuing Education Units, similar to clinical staff. Some other trained peer support workers may also be law-enforcement personnel and firefighters as well as emergency medical responders. group. Some victims wrote they had previous abusive relationships. The fake profile contained stereotypical characteristics that men and women look for in a potential mate. Through the use of ICTs ‘hyperpersonal relationships’ were developed. The ‘Scammers Persuasive Techniques Model’ is developed here to explain the success of these scams. A range of psychological impacts is also reported.

Study 3 examined the three main objectives of the project. In-depth interviews were conducted with 20 victims. Most of the women had experienced a highly abusive relationship earlier in their lives. Some of the men reported a history of mental healthMental health Mental health, defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), is "a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community". According to WHO, mental health includes "subjective well-being, perceived self-efficacy, autonomy, competence, intergenerational dependence, and self-actualization of one's intellectual and emotional potential, among others". From the perspectives of positive psychology or of holism, mental health may include an individual's ability to enjoy life and to create a balance between life activities and efforts to achieve psychological resilience. Cultural differences, subjective assessments, and competing professional theories all affect how one defines "mental health". problems. Further support was found for the ‘Scammers Persuasive Techniques Model’. In addition, it was found that victims were also drawn in because of the ‘unconditional positive regard’ displayed by the criminalCriminal A criminal is any person who through a decision or act engages in a crime. This can be complicated, as many people break laws unknowingly, however, in our context, it is a person who makes a decision to engage in unlawful acts or to place themselves with others who do this. A criminal always has the ability to decide not to break the law, or if they initially engage in crime to stop doing it, but instead continues.. Victims experienced a double hit from the loss of monies and the loss of a relationship. Victims found it very difficult to let go of the relationship and visualize that it was not real even when they believed they had been scammed. Victims went through the stages of grieving after learning they had been scammed and those in denialDenial Denial is a refusal or unwillingness to accept something or to accept reality. Refusal to admit the truth or reality of something, refusal to acknowledge something unpleasant; And as a term of Psychology: denial is a defense mechanism in which confrontation with a personal problem or with reality is avoided by denying the existence of the problem or reality. were vulnerable to a second wave of the scam.

This report concludes by providing advice to online dating companies, law enforcement, policymakers and health professionals. Online dating companies need to make information about the scam visible on their sites. Others need to be aware that victims are vulnerable and special care needs to be taken when the news is broken to victims.

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TAGS: SCARS, Important Article, Information About Scams, Anti-Scam, Dating ScamDating scam Dating scammers or love scammers create fake identities on dating apps and social media to coax you into fake online relationships. They often quickly move to personal channels such as phone or email, using your trust to acquire money or personal info, or help you hide their criminal activities. You'll probably never meet them in person. This is a relationship scam. Report, Dating Scam Research, Romance Scam Analysis, Romance Scam Report, Romance Scam Research, Professor Monica Whitty, University of Leicester, Dr. Tom Buchanan, University of Westminster,

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FAQ: How Do You Properly Report Scammers?

It is essential that law enforcement knows about scams & scammers, even though there is nothing (in most cases) that they can do.

Always report scams involving money lost or where you received money to:

  1. Local Police – ask them to take an “informational” police report – say you need it for your insurance
  2. Your National Police or FBIFBI FBI - Federal Bureau of Investigation The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States and its principal federal law enforcement agency. Operating under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Justice, the FBI is also a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community and reports to both the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence. A leading U.S. counter-terrorism, counterintelligence, and criminal investigative organization, the FBI has jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crimes, including financial fraud. « www.IC3.gov »
  3. The SCARS|CDN™ Cybercriminal Data Network – Worldwide Reporting Network « HERE » or on « www.Anyscam.com »

This helps your government understand the problem, and allows law enforcement to add scammers on watch lists worldwide.


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SCARS, RSN, Romance Scams Now, SCARS|WORLDWIDE, SCARS|GLOBAL, SCARS, Society of Citizens Against Relationship ScamsSCARS SCARS - Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc. A government registered crime victims' assistance & crime prevention nonprofit organization based in Miami, Florida, U.S.A. SCARS supports the victims of scams worldwide and through its partners in more than 60 countries around the world. Incorporated in 2015, its team has 30 years of continuous experience educating and supporting scam victims. Visit www.AgainstScams.org to learn more about SCARS., Society of Citizens Against Romance Scams, SCARS|ANYSCAM, Project Anyscam, Anyscam, SCARS|GOFCH, GOFCH, SCARS|CHINA, SCARS|CDN, SCARS|UK, SCARS Cybercriminal Data Network, Cobalt Alert, Scam Victims Support GroupSupport Group In a support group, members provide each other with various types of help, usually nonprofessional and nonmaterial, for a particular shared, usually burdensome, characteristic, such as romance scams. Members with the same issues can come together for sharing coping strategies, to feel more empowered and for a sense of community. The help may take the form of providing and evaluating relevant information, relating personal experiences, listening to and accepting others' experiences, providing sympathetic understanding and establishing social networks. A support group may also work to inform the public or engage in advocacy. They can be supervised or not. SCARS support groups are moderated by the SCARS Team and or volunteers., are all trademarks of Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Incorporated.

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