These Personality Traits Make You Most Vulnerable to Online Dating Scams, Study Finds

April 28, 2016 | Kelly Tatera

Woman using a laptop

Some victims in the study lost over $90,000 in online dating scams.

According to a new study at the University of South Wales, sensitive and less emotionally intelligent people are more likely to be vulnerable to online dating scams.

"Perpetrators of dating scams simply set up false profiles on dating websites with the sole purpose of extracting money from their victims. The scammer first grooms a victim by expressing love for them before outlining their desperate circumstances,” explained researcher Martin Graff in a press release.

“Our study focused on why some individuals are more likely to become the victims of these scams than others."

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In the study, over 90 victims of dating scams took part in questionnaires which measured their emotional intelligence, self-esteem, personality, how they relate to others, and age and gender.

After analyzing the results, the researchers found that victims of scam had used dating sites for less than four weeks, but in that short time, they lost amounts of money ranging from £50 to £63,000, which amounts to over $90,000 — a painful loss.

The analysis also revealed that the people who were most likely to be victims of online dating scams tended to be efficient, organized, and disciplined, but they were also much more likely to be sensitive, express emotions, and display a preoccupied attachment style. As the researchers explain, this means that they could be overly dependent on others and seeking approval from the person they’re attached to.

In our increasingly digitized world, there’s a rise in the number of people who are using online dating, which means more and more people are likely to become victims of dating scams. Martin says that online scammers used sophisticated techniques and “eventually may begin to know exactly the sort of people to target and how to manipulate them.”

On a more positive note, a recent study found that psychopaths have a particularly hard time manipulating others online. While their charming facades are harder to see through in person, the research revealed that their ability to manipulate others is much less effective without a visual medium.

In conclusion, Martin says, "These findings will be beneficial to dating sites and law enforcement agencies in attempting to protect the vulnerable from being scammed. Further research should include interviews with a larger sample of people who have been the dating scam victims."

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