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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.

Anyone can be the target and victim of these scams—men, women, young, old, gay, straight, white, black, Asian, Hispanic… But the FBI states that women who are “over 40, divorced, widowed, and/or disabled” are prime targets for scammers.

If you fall into this category, be especially wary of people that you meet through dating websites.

Some prefer not to have a Facebook at all (myself included), while others have a profile, but would rather not drag mutual friends into the dating equation.

Whatever the case may be, there are enough dating apps in the sea to satisfy pretty much every possible need.

The photos used by scammers can also clue you in that something is off.

If someone sends you a message and says they’d like to get to know you, save a copy of their picture and use Google’s reverse image search to see if anyone has posted about that photo being used for a scam.

If someone was expressing over-the-top love and passion within a couple weeks, you’d be worried.

This isn’t a dead giveaway, but it’s something to watch out for.

While the British scammer mentioned in the introduction to this article met his victims in person, most scammers will avoid face-to-face meetings at all costs.

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.

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