Remember the golden rule - NEVER SEND MONEY TO ANYONE YOU MEET ONLINE.
Their photos also are likely to be phony—shots of someone good-looking that are lifted from other websites.
Romance scammers often claim that they live in the U. but currently are traveling or working abroad, which delays meeting in person.
While people of all ages are at risk of being hit by con artists who scout for victims via online dating sites, social media and chat rooms, the FBI says the most common targets actually are women over 40 who are divorced, widowed, or disabled.
Compared with any other Internet-enabled crimes, romance scams also take the highest financial toll, with victims reporting losses of nearly $200 million to the FBI in 2015.
"I was part of the second wave of feminism, and in the 1980s pornography was a big issue in Europe."I went around the world for about 15 years talking about violence against women."But as Ms Juusola has since learnt, anyone can be targeted.
The scammers are manipulative and prey on people's emotional vulnerabilities."It's all about the emotions, it's all about finding that vulnerability in the target, like me," Ms Juusola said."At the time when this happened to me I was probably very vulnerable because my mum had died very recently and I had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, so I was pretty down. There is no real profile."Ms Rickard said scammers were experts at preying on people's weaknesses, and would spend months and even years grooming victims and lowering their defences.Is meeting someone via online dating riskier than meeting a potential partner at a party, a bar, or going on a blind date?Both men and women tend to have similar views about the pros and cons of online dating, but on that particular issue their views definitely diverge, according to a national survey released in 2016 by the Pew Research Center.Ms Juusola said she began emailing a man claiming to be a soldier in Afghanistan, but became suspicious when he started asking her for money. Originally from Scandinavia, she spent many years as a researcher and campaigner of women's rights in Europe.She asked her son in London to look into it and he quickly confirmed her suspicions. "I researched pornography, prostitution and violence against women," she said.Investigators say the woman believed she had developed a long-term relationship, so when the scammers claimed to be in a crisis, she sent roughly ,000 to help. He says she was then was contacted by the same suspects posing as agents with the U. Federal Bureau of Investigations and the United Nations, who told her she had been awarded million by Nigerian courts in restitution as a victim of fraud.