Web-based dating services first popped up in the mid-1990s and are now a billion industry.
As of December 2013, 1 in 10 American adults had used services such as Match.com, Plenty of Fish and e Harmony.
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.
She had a website for her business, was on Facebook, carried a smartphone.
But who knew exactly how these online dating services worked?
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.
And her pitch was straightforward: Looking for a life partner …According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), complaints about impostor ploys such as the romance scam more than doubled between 20.The FBI says that Americans lost some million to online-dating fraud in just the last six months of 2014.But much of the note consisted of flirty jokes ("If I could be bottled I would be called 'eau de enigma' ") and a detailed imaginary description of their first meeting: It's 11 am when we arrive at the restaurant for brunch.The restaurant is a white painted weatherboard, simple but well-kept, set on the edge of a lake, separated from it by an expansive deck, dotted (not packed) with tables and comfortable chairs….Then she saw this guy, the one with a mysterious profile name — darkandsugarclue.The photo showed a trim, silver-haired man of 61 with a salt-and-pepper beard and Wayfarer-style shades. And something else: He was a "100% match." Whoever he was, the computer had decided he was the one. Then, this message appeared when she logged on to her account. Thank you so much for the email and I am really sorry for the delay in reply, I don't come on here often, smiles ...*Names have been changed to protect identities En español She wrote him first. In the summer, when the trees leafed out, you couldn't even see the road or the neighbors. She'd grown up here, in a conservative pocket of Virginia. When it came to meeting new people, however, her choices were limited. The holidays were coming, and she didn't want to face them alone.A short message sent on a Thursday evening in early December 2013, under the subject line: Match? She signed up for a six-month subscription to Match.com, the largest and one of the oldest dating services on the Web."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.