arXiv:2405.03828v1 Announce Type: new
Abstract: Romance scams (RS) inflict financial and emotional damage by defrauding victims under the guise of meaningful relationships. This research study examines RS trends in the U.S. through a quantitative analysis of web searches, news articles, research publications, and government reports from 2004 to 2023. This is the first study to use multiple sources for RS trend analysis. Results reveal increasing public interest and media coverage contrasted by a recent decrease in incidents reported to authorities. The frequency of research dedicated to RS has steadily grown but focuses predominantly on documenting the problem rather than developing solutions. Overall, findings suggest RS escalation despite declining official reports, which are likely obscured by low victim reporting rates. This highlights the need for greater awareness to encourage reporting enabling accurate data-driven policy responses. Additionally, more research must focus on techniques to counter these crimes. With improved awareness and prevention, along with responses informed by more accurate data, the rising RS threat can perhaps be mitigated.



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