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Suli Malet-Warden, an identity security counsellor at national identity and cyber support service IDCARE, said smart people regularly fell for scams.
"We speak to them all the time — it's definitely not stupidity."Ms Malet-Warden said to prompt someone to fall in love with a scammer, the victim was first "seeded" with an idea.
Ms Malet-Warden said although there was a perception that scam victims were more vulnerable than the average person, everyone was seeking a sense of connection.
"I think there is a primal need, so I don't think we can box the victim into this idea that they are sad, lonely or naive," she said."We all want support.
They're incredibly supportive, they're appealing, they're flattering, they're soothing.
Ms Malet-Warden said the process results in the brain releasing specific chemicals."So things like dopamine, which causes euphoric feelings that are pre-emptive to falling in love, adrenaline, norepinephrine …
But more often than not, singles are being fed pretend profiles—or worse—getting scammed.
oxytocin levels rise in these cases, which increases our level of trust," she said.
An IDCARE study of 583 relationship scam cases reported from 2014 to 2108 across Australia and New Zealand revealed scammers used "specific and highly validating narrative to gently groom the victim into a loved-up state so powerful, they agree to part with money".
You may have heard the term "catfished," a word used when someone gets scammed from someone on an online dating site pretending to be someone they're not.
It means they've been had, lied to, and maybe even grossly misled to give their own money to someone who pretended to be in need. According to, "Just over a year ago, the Department of Justice announced that seven men—six from Nigeria and one from South Africa—had plead guilty to conning tens of millions of dollars from Americans via online dating sites." How does it happen?