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For busy singles, online dating offers a convenient way to meet people. Sites like Match, Yahoo Personals and True.com let people create personalized profiles, and easily connect with other daters whose profiles seem compatible. What happens, though, when the person behind the profile is not who he or she claims to be? While many daters have found meaningful relationships online, some, unfortunately, have ended up victims of scammers, left with broken hearts and empty wallets.
Con artists who choose the romance route can be cruel, preying on the lonely and sometimes waiting months for their victims to develop deep emotional attachments before springing their traps. No one wants to believe they could fall for such a trick, but it happens more than you might expect, so it pays to learn to spot a romance scammer in action.
Click on the broken heart icon below to read excerpts from a fictionalized three-month online relationship between a con man and his victim. Her name is Andrea. We've chosen to show you only a few of the email and instant messaging exchanges that happened during the course of their relationship. Most of them include a sign that should have given Andrea reason to worry. Would you have made the same mistakes she did?