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The rapid development of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and the prevalence of the internet offer an alternative venue for romantic endeavors.Internet daters experience excitement when they interact with other people through new, digital mediums.Fourth, a scammer profile is offered based on skills, resources, scam-cultures, and rationales.The fifth section identifies how technology, cyberspace, and the poorly regulated internet dating industry permit fraudsters to organize and operate romance scams successfully.Twenty keyword combinations are used to gather 170 documents, which are then sorted around four intersecting themes: online dating, scams and frauds, the organization of cyber criminals, and prevention and regulation.This paper concludes that the three dimensions of technology, cyberspace, and inadequate countermeasures collectively influence criminal organization and operation in cyberspace.While the estimates of victimization are rough at best, online daters are prime targets of romance scams and identity fraud, and thereby warrant special attention.In the context of this paper, cyber crime is defined as any crime (i) where ICTs may be the agent/perpetrator, the facilitator/instrument, or the victim/target of the crime and (ii) which may either be a single event or an on-going series of events (Rege-Patwardhan, 2009; Symantec 2007).
US daters spent approximately 5 million on online personals and dating services in the first half of 2005 (OPA 2005).
By using advanced search engines, ‘scientific’ matching services, and proprietary algorithms, dating sites instantly find compatible matches based on values, personality styles, attitudes, interests, race, religion, gender, and ZIP codes (Mitchell, 2009).
These digital environments of anonymity and flexibility allow daters to test pluralistic ways of being that are instantaneous, alterable, and open to interpretation, making online dating attractive and stimulating to customers (Hitsch et al., 2005; Wang & Lu, 2007).
However, this successful global industry is a frequent venue of cyber crime, which poses serious problems for matchmaking services and daters worldwide.
This paper offers an overview of romance scams and identity fraud at dating sites, developing a typology of cyber criminals and analyzing each type along the dimensions of criminal techniques, organizations, and ideologies.