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Thirdly, the research revealed that individuals who have an addictive personality are more likely to be the victims of romance scams.Whitty suggests that people get involved in scams because they become addicted to the scam itself.It could be that less kind individuals have fewer social networks (presumably as a result of being less kind), and therefore focus more of their time on the fake relationship created by scammers and thus fall victim.
Stories exist of victims parting with their life savings and even remortgaging their houses to obtain funds to send to the scammer. The scenario described above sounds so incredible that doubtless we would say that we would never fall for such a ploy. Therefore the question is whether psychology can help in predicting the types of people most likely to fall victim to dating scams.
How Scams Work Typically, after developing a fallacious relationship with a potential victim, the scammer relays a sob story to them which will involve a request for money.
The reason given for the monetary request is usually some kind of emergency for example they have to pay an unexpected hospital bill arising from a sudden illness or accident.
Those who score highly on measures of addiction find it more difficult to ‘walk away’ from the scammer and the scam once it has started, and surprisingly sometimes even when they are informed by the authorities that they have been scammed.
The explanation is that the scam victims are similar to gamblers in that they get caught up in the process, perceiving it as a ‘near win’ situation.