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Romance Scam Research Center

2023: UK: Tainted love: a systematic literature review of online romance scam research

Bilz, Alexander, Lynsay A. Shepherd, and Graham I. Johnson. "Tainted love: a systematic literature review of online romance scam research." Interacting with Computers (2023): iwad048.


Abstract: "Romance scams involve cybercriminals engineering a romantic relationship on online dating platforms for monetary gain. It is a cruel form of cybercrime whereby victims are left heartbroken, often facing financial ruin. We characterize the literary landscape on romance scams, advancing the understanding of researchers and practitioners by systematically reviewing and synthesizing contemporary qualitative and quantitative evidence. The systematic review establishes influencing factors of victimhood and explores countermeasures for mitigating romance scams. We searched 10 scholarly databases and websites using terms related to romance scams. The methodology followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA) guidelines: a total of 279 papers were screened. One hundred seven papers were assessed for eligibility, and 53 were included in the final analysis. Three main contributions were identified: common profile features and techniques used by romance scammers, countermeasures for mitigating romance scams and factors predisposing an individual to become a scammer or a victim. Despite a growing corpus of literature, the total number of empirical or experimental examinations remained limited. The paper concludes with avenues for future research and victimhood intervention strategies for practitioners, law enforcement and the industry."

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