Romance fraud, when con men seduce people only to target their money, is an type of confidence game with very old roots. This form of con received high attention in Sweden around the 1950s when a man named Gustaf Raskenstam had relationships with more than a hundred lonely women, and had been engaged to many of them, often several at the same time. He was eventually imprisoned for fraud. His contact ads usually had the headline "Sunshine and springtime" ("sol och vår" in Swedish). This type of behaviour has since been called "sol och vårande" in Swedish.
Romance fraud is not so much a specific con, but more of an element used in other cons. For example, some versions of the Spanish Prisoner or Advance Fee Fraud have romance angles, as do many versions of the badger game.
Much of the text above comes from:
Movie: The Producers — in which a large part of Max Bialystock's plan involves seducing sweet little old ladies into backing his theatrical productions.
Game and Story Use
- Many people are happy to be a fool for love. The GM might consider giving a bonus of some sort to con attempts that play with another's heartstrings, especially if the mark is particularly lonely or has limited romantic experience.
- In a fantasy setting, cons aren't restricted to being done in pursuit of money. The same can be said of any setting, but in the typical medieval fantasy world, this is especially true:
- In a feudal society, getting married into an important family is a way to unlock not just money but power.
- In a setting where magic involves custom spells or arcane secrets, a rogue may try romancing a rare spell out of a wizard.