Mapping Romance Fraud Research – A Systematic Review

Rasha Kassem*, Elisabeth Carter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose: This paper aims to systematically review over two decades of academic articles on romance fraud to provide a holistic insight into this crime and identify literature gaps. Design/methodology/approach: More than two decades of peer-reviewed academic journal articles from 2000 to 2023 were systematically reviewed using multiple search engines and databases for relevant papers, identified through searches of paper titles, keywords, abstracts and primary texts. Findings: The findings reveal 10 themes: i) the definitions and terminology of romance fraud; ii) romance fraud’s impact on victims; iii) the profile of romance fraud criminals and victims; iv) romance fraud methods and techniques; v) why victims become susceptible to romance fraud; vi) the psychology of romance fraud criminals; vii) the links between romance fraud and other crimes; viii) the challenges of investigating romance fraud; ix) preventing romance fraud and protecting victims; and x) how romance fraud victims can be supported. Practical implications: The paper reveals implications regarding the future direction of policy and strategy to address the pervasive low reporting rates and narratives of shame bound with victims of this crime. Originality/value: Romance fraud is a serious crime against individuals with impacts beyond financial losses. Still, this fraud type is under-researched, and the literature lacks a holistic view of this crime. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first systematic literature review providing a holistic view of romance fraud. It combines evidence across the academic landscape to reveal the breadth and depth of the current work concerning romance fraud and identify gaps in the understanding of this fraud crime.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Financial Crime
Early online date19 Oct 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

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  • Fraud victims
  • Psychological abuse
  • Psychology of fraudsters
  • Romance fraud


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