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The mainstreaming of online dating is a revolution in progress, one that's blurring the boundaries between "real" and online relationships.
(AARP has joined this revolution, partnering with the online dating service How About We to launch AARP Dating in December 2012.) But the online-dating boom has also fueled an invisible epidemic.
But as financial crimes go, the love con was a rare breed, too time- and labor-intensive to carry out in large numbers.
It could take months or years of dedicated persuasion to pull off a single sting. Technology has streamlined communication, given scammers powerful new tools of deceit and opened up a vast pool of potential victims.
"It is amazing what people will do without conscience.
I think it is always best to be whom we are and not mislead others." By December 17, they had exchanged eight more emails.
Duane suggested they both fill out questionnaires listing not only their favorite foods and hobbies but also personality quirks and financial status. An impostor poses as a suitor, lures the victim into a romance, then loots his or her finances.
But nothing clicked — either they weren't her type or they weren't exactly who they said they were.
Two sharp blows that had left her alone in her late 50s. His cancer took him swiftly, before she had time to process what was happening.
It had been over two years since the death of her husband of 20 years; four, since she had lost her mother.
This seemed to be one of the problems with online dating.
She resolved to be pickier, only contacting men who were closely matched — 90 percent or more, as determined by the algorithm pulling the strings behind her online search. Back in college, she'd studied computer science and psychology, and she considered herself pretty tech-savvy.