As we advance further into the digital age, we have seen romance scams become increasingly more common. With continued technological advancements, and the greater popularity of online dating apps, scammers are finding it easier than ever to deceive others into thinking they are in a real relationship before manipulating them into giving them money. Data from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission revealed Australians lost a record $56 million to dating and romance scammers last year.
Netflix’s series such as the Tinder Swindler and Inventing Anna have showcased a rise of interest in true crime stories of online scams and deceptions. There have also been a number of recent podcasts exploring this issue such as Who the hell is Hamish?, Catfish and Snowball.
Here are the top book picks that explore the perils of the digital age and the impact it has on our dating lives.
When Stephanie Wood meets a former architect turned farmer she embarks on an exhilarating romance with him. He seems compassionate, loving, truthful. They talk about the future. She falls in love. She also becomes increasingly beset by anxiety at his frequent cancellations, no-shows and bizarre excuses. She starts to wonder, who is this man?
When she ends the relationship Stephanie reboots her journalism skills and embarks on a romantic investigation. She discovers a story of mind-boggling duplicity and manipulation. She learns that the man she thought she was in love with doesn’t exist. She also finds she is not alone; that the world is full of smart people who have suffered at the hands of liars, cheats, narcissists, fantasists and phonies, people enormously skilled in the art of deception.
Kay Schubach almost has it all – a great job, a beautiful apartment, and a steady relationship.
By chance, she meets handsome and charismatic Simon. He sweeps her off her feet and Kay takes the biggest risk of her life, leaving all certainties behind for love.
All too quickly, the romance turns sour, and Simon goes from charming to controlling, from magnetic to threatening. Trapped in a terrifying relationship, isolated from friends and family, Kay must decide what she values most and fight for it.
Sofija Stefanovic visits her eighty-year-old friend Bill and suspects he’s being scammed over the internet – not for the first time. Compelled by Bill’s devastating stories of online dating, heartbreak and bankruptcy, Sofija gets drawn into the underworld of romance scams. Her investigations take her to victims, experts and ultimately to her computer, where she uses a dead relative’s photo to set up her own senior’s dating profile.
You’re Just Too Good To Be True is a very funny and desperately poignant investigation into the dark underside of love.
Nina Dean has arrived at her early thirties as a successful food writer with loving friends and family, plus a new home and neighbourhood. When she meets Max, a beguiling romantic hero who tells her on date one that he’s going to marry her, it feels like all is going to plan. A new relationship couldn’t have come at a better time – her thirties have not been the liberating, uncomplicated experience she was sold. Friendships are fading, ex-boyfriends are moving on and, worse, everyone’s moving to the suburbs.