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Victims of romance fraud experience both a financial and emotional burden. Although multiple studies have offered insight into the correlates of perpetration and victimization, no known study has examined if, and how, romance fraud can be curtailed. The current study uses a randomized experimental design to test the restrictive deterrent effect of warning messages sent to romance fraudsters via email. We find that active romance fraudsters who receive a deterrence message, instead of non-deterrence messages, respond at a lower rate; and, among those who respond, use fewer words and have a lower probability of seeking reply without denying wrongdoing. The results provide support for restrictive deterrence in cyberspace. Theoretical and policy implications are discussed.


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Wang, Fangzhou, C. Jordan Howell, David Maimon, and Scott Jacques. 2020. “The Restrictive Deterrent Effect of Warning Messages Sent to Active Romance Fraudsters: An Experimental Approach.” CrimRxiv, November 5.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.