Dating dating love online romance

View the full list Online dating and romance scams continue to lure in Australians with figures this week showing people have lost more than A million this year alone, with average individual losses at A,000 – three times higher than other types of fraud.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) set up the Scam Disruption Project in August to help target those it believes have been caught in such scams.

But this just demonstrates the level of manipulation that exists in these relationships as well as the strength and intensity of the bond that offenders are able to establish to continually convince the victim that their “love” is real.

Media are littered with other stories of men and women who have suffered at the hands of online offenders, and are fully aware of what happened.

These people have not only had to deal with the financial impact of the fraud but also grieve the loss of the relationship which formed the central part of the ruse.

Then there are those who have shouldered the burden in silence, fearful of the reaction they would get from family, friends and law enforcement agencies.

The idea that victims are greedy and stupid is simply a myth used to perpetuate the idea that “we” cannot be victims, that “we” are different to those who become victims and that “we” are too smart and impenetrable to any type of fraud.

But this ignores the role of the offenders in this situation and the ways in which they employ high level manipulation, exploitation and social engineering tactics to ensure compliance from their victims. Studies which explore characteristics of online relationships have found increased self-disclosures online compared to face-to-face interactions.

For the brave victims who do come forward and disclose, in many instances there situation is dismissed by their family and friends, they are further stigmatised in these circles and unable to get any acknowledgement about what happened from law enforcement and other agencies.

This only further traumatises the victim and reinforces their existing notions of self-blame.

By that stage, the level of trust and rapport is so strong and the level of perceived intimacy so great, that the victim complies and sends money.

For so many, that first transfer is the beginning of a heartbreaking and costly journey.

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