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A record $ million was reported lost to romance scams in Scammers lurk on dating apps and social media, striking up conversation with strangers until they build up trust to After years of dating frustration, Montana resident Debbie Best thought her luck had finally changed when she met a handsome antiques dealer from Florida through an online dating blogger.com —. Thanks to the proliferation of online dating, would-be couples are now almost as likely to meet via email or a virtual “wink” as they are through friends and family. In Lawson began online dating at the end of when she realized she wasn’t meeting anyone her own age in Gainesville, Florida. The lost art of offline dating. “When you’re 43, it’s tough Just this week, federal officials announced that Americans lost $ million to online romance scams last year -- nearly a 40% jump since Here's how to avoid getting your heart and ... read more

military," Chris Grey, the Army CID's spokesman said in a statement. And in recent months, the International Crime Complaint Center has warned of a new dating extortion scam where scammers bait members of online dating sites into intimate conversations, then threaten to expose them if they don't pay up.

Related: How to spot the danger signs of fraud. Be on guard. Be especially cautious with people you only know through online messages and phone calls. If possible, try Skype or video chat. Many scammers use fake photos to lure their victims but video messaging is much harder to fake. Be cautious if someone claims to be local but happens to be out of the country. Be your own detective. Use search engines to research the person's name and background.

Look up their phone number to see if it's listed in the region they claim to be from. Don't send explicit messages or photos. Don't send anyone money. thanks for visiting cnnmoney. We're no longer maintaining this page. Have you been the victim of a scam, dating or otherwise? E-mail melanie. hicken turner. com to share your story. CNNMoney New York First published February 20, AM ET. Personal Finance. LendingTree Paid Partner. CNNMoney Sponsors.

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All the tips discussed here came from the Federal Trade Commission's website, which monitors reports of fraud in the US. For more on romance scams and how to report them, click here.

Here's how to avoid the con artists By Faith Karimi , CNN Updated AM ET, Fri February 14, JUST WATCHED Dozens charged in global online fraud scheme bust. More Videos Dozens charged in global online fraud scheme bust Some of the scams drag on for months or years, and leave the victims crushed emotionally and financially.

Here's how to avoid getting your heart and money stolen:. They claim to be in these professions. Romance scammers start off with fake profiles using someone else's identity. Their alleged location is never in your city -- they claim to be deployed in the military, working at an oil rig overseas or a doctor embedded with international groups, the Federal Trade Commission says. That way, they can ask for money to pay for seemingly legitimate costs such as travel visas, plane tickets and hospital bills.

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For the latest business news and markets data, please visit CNN Business. In , the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center received 5, complaints from victims of so-called "romance scammers" -- criminals who scan online dating sites, chat rooms and social networking sites for potential victims. In a typical con, the perpetrator will spend weeks or even months building up a romantic relationship with a victim through e-mails, texts or phone calls, before eventually asking for money.

And many of the scammers aren't even in the United States. Related: Debt collection horror stories. For Best, it all started when she signed up for a free online dating site called mingle2. A man calling himself "John" messaged her and through daily phone calls and messages on Facebook, he gained her trust.

He spoke with what she thought was a British accent and his picture on Facebook portrayed a nice-looking man with graying hair and a beard. In July, "John" told her that he was traveling to the United Kingdom to buy antiques for his store. At first, Best -- who juggles two part-time jobs working with developmentally-disabled adults and people with mental illness -- resisted, telling John she simply didn't have the money.

But he persisted. Related iReport: The upside of online dating. But as he continued to push for money, Best realized something was off. She searched Web forums, eventually finding another woman's story of a scammer with the same name. CNNMoney's attempts to reach "John" on his international phone number provided by Best revealed that it was based out of Nigeria -- a hotbed for online scams -- and has since been disconnected.

Attempts to call the U. number Best reached him at revealed the number was no longer in service and was hosted by MagicJack, an Internet-based phone service that allows people anywhere in the world to make unlimited calls from a U. phone number. Someone claiming to live in the U. but who says they're stuck outside of the country and in need of money is a popular ploy among scammers.

Others will impersonate U. soldiers serving abroad, then ask for money to purchase laptops, international phones or a plane ticket home so their fake relationship can continue. Some even claim they need money for medical expenses from combat injuries. Related: The lost art of offline dating. The U. Army's Criminal Investigation Command says they receive hundreds of reports every month from people fooled by phony service members. military," Chris Grey, the Army CID's spokesman said in a statement.

And in recent months, the International Crime Complaint Center has warned of a new dating extortion scam where scammers bait members of online dating sites into intimate conversations, then threaten to expose them if they don't pay up.

Related: How to spot the danger signs of fraud. Be on guard. Be especially cautious with people you only know through online messages and phone calls. If possible, try Skype or video chat. Many scammers use fake photos to lure their victims but video messaging is much harder to fake. Be cautious if someone claims to be local but happens to be out of the country.

Be your own detective. Use search engines to research the person's name and background. Look up their phone number to see if it's listed in the region they claim to be from. Don't send explicit messages or photos. Don't send anyone money. thanks for visiting cnnmoney. We're no longer maintaining this page. Have you been the victim of a scam, dating or otherwise?

E-mail melanie. hicken turner. com to share your story. CNNMoney New York First published February 20, AM ET. Personal Finance. LendingTree Paid Partner. CNNMoney Sponsors. SmartAsset Paid Partner. These are your 3 financial advisors near you This site finds and compares 3 financial advisors in your area Check this off your list before retirement: talk to an advisor Answer these questions to find the right financial advisor for you Find CFPs in your area in 5 minutes.

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blogger.com —. Thanks to the proliferation of online dating, would-be couples are now almost as likely to meet via email or a virtual “wink” as they are through friends and family. In Just this week, federal officials announced that Americans lost $ million to online romance scams last year -- nearly a 40% jump since Here's how to avoid getting your heart and The data come from nearly , heterosexual daters on a “popular, free online dating service” in New York, Chicago, Seattle and Boston, according to the study. The researchers did not Manti Te'o is a hoax victim, Notre Dame says, but questions continue to pop up. A sportswriter thinks Te'o may have embellished his relationship. An NFL football player says he has met a Lawson began online dating at the end of when she realized she wasn’t meeting anyone her own age in Gainesville, Florida. The lost art of offline dating. “When you’re 43, it’s tough Jeffrey Toobin returned to CNN on Thursday afternoon and admitted that masturbating during a Zoom call — which got him fired from the New Yorker and led to a leave of absence from the ... read more

Don't send explicit messages or photos. SmartAsset Paid Partner. Uplift Parenting Now Streaming. Here's how to avoid getting your heart and money stolen:. but who says they're stuck outside of the country and in need of money is a popular ploy among scammers. A man calling himself "John" messaged her and through daily phone calls and messages on Facebook, he gained her trust. JUST WATCHED Dozens charged in global online fraud scheme bust.

And for Lemon :. NextAdvisor Paid Partner. Movieguide® online dating scandal cnn to give you the resources to empower the good and the beautiful. These are your 3 financial advisors near you This site finds and compares 3 financial advisors in your area Check this off your list before retirement: talk to an advisor Answer these questions to find the right financial advisor for you Find CFPs in your area in 5 minutes. For more on romance scams and how to report them, click here, online dating scandal cnn. Be on guard. She searched Web forums, eventually finding another woman's story of a scammer with the same name.

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