He had convinced them that he was a diplomat and that a US marine general had fallen in love with them, causing one woman to pawn jewelry, empty her life savings, sell her car, and take out loans to help this general move to the UK. In 2011, the Internet Crime Complaint Center estimated that the online dating scamming “industry” was worth over million, but it’s likely much higher than that, due to the difficulty of making a good estimate.People are often ashamed to come forward and admit that they’ve been duped.

Yahoo offers an online support group for victims of Romance scams.

In August, a British man was sent to jail after defrauding two women of over £300,000 ($455,300) through online dating sites.

If that image shows up on other profiles with different names, you should be suspicious. If you receive other photos, and anything seems off, be wary.

It’s possible that it’s someone looking for an affair on a dating site The Internet seems ecstatic about the Ashley Madison hack, with millions of adulterers' and potential adulterers' details hacked and released online, with articles outing individuals found in the data dump. Even if someone’s profile looks legit, there are other signs to keep an eye out for, especially during the beginning of your communication.

Online dating can be difficult for women The AARP also says that seniors are a common target of these scams.

Again, both men and women can and have fallen victim to online dating scammers, but women tend to be targeted more aggressively.

It’s not a good feeling to have been taken advantage of, and a scheme that’s so obvious in hindsight is even harder to admit to. If you date online, take precautions to protect yourself.

Here are six things to keep in mind to help you spot and avoid scammers on online dating sites.

Scammers also often list themselves as widowed (especially with a child), self-employed, or working overseas.