And many of the scammers aren't even in the United States.
In 2011, the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center received 5,600 complaints from victims of so-called "romance scammers" -- criminals who scan online dating sites, chat rooms and social networking sites for potential victims.
The victims reported collective losses of $50.4 million, which is likely only a fraction of the actual losses since many victims are too embarrassed to file a report, the FBI said.
“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.”The person seeks to form a bond with you, according to the FBI warning, quickly expressing feelings of romantic love and spending weeks or even months luring people in.
Scammers use poetry, flowers, and other gifts to reel in victims, the entire time declaring their "undying love." These criminals also use stories of severe life circumstances, tragedies, deaths in the family, injuries to themselves, or other hardships to keep their victims concerned and involved in their schemes.
Scammers also ask victims to send money to help overcome a financial situation they claim to be experiencing.Officials said scams include people asking for money or posting intimate photos of the victim online.If you think you’ve already been victimized, officials encourage you to file a complaint with our Internet Crime Complaint Center at Someone you know may be "dating" someone online who may appear to be decent and honest.However, be forewarned: the online contact could be a criminal sitting in a cyber café with a well-rehearsed script that scammers have used repeatedly and successfully.Here are some warning signs that your online “date” may only be interested in money.