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These criminals—who also troll social media sites and chat rooms in search of romantic victims—usually claim to be Americans traveling or working abroad. While their most common targets are women over 40 who are divorced, widowed, and/or disabled, but every age group and demographic is at risk. You’re contacted online by someone who appears interested in you.He or she may have a profile you can read or a picture that is e-mailed to you.

Victims were later sent a link to a website where those conversations were posted, along with photos, their phone numbers, and claims that they were “cheaters.” In order to have that information removed, victims were told they could make a $99 payment—but there is no indication that the other side of the bargain was upheld.

While the FBI and other federal partners work some of these cases—in particular those with a large number of victims or large dollar losses and/or those involving organized criminal groups—many are investigated by local and state authorities.

If you believe you are the victim of an online dating scam or any Internet facilitated crime, please file a report at

If dating is a game, online dating is a game of strategy.

Message someone “hey,” and you’ll probably be ignored.

Send the wrong emoji — or apparently any at all if you’re male — and you’re as good as gone.

One way to steer clear of these criminals altogether is to stick to online dating websites with nationally known reputations.

Finally, the FBI advises not to send money through any wire transfer service to someone you met online.

Be genuine: Look at a dater’s profile and write to them about something specific, so they know that you’re not just randomly throwing out opening lines to every single person that is on the app, Mc Cann suggests.

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