Beth Kipps, who has experimented with several dating sites, says the men who have attempted to con her almost always have a reason why they shouldn't continue to communicate via or e Harmony.
That's important to the con artist, who'll want to troll the site again for future victims when done with you.
Do your fellow legitimate members a favor and be sure to report abusers. Budgyk, 56, doesn't suffer for a lack of confidence, but he also knows something is amiss when a model half his age just can't get enough of him.
"When some 25-year-old girl is telling you that she's in love with you, you have to wonder why," he says. If a 25-year-old model is contacting a 50-year-old man, there's something wrong." Scammers look for vulnerable populations -- women and men in their 50s and 60s who are divorced or widowed and may feel rejected or past their prime.
"You see this communication and think, 'Oh my gosh, I must be more attractive than I thought! They're also likely to target people with weight problems and those recovering from illnesses. Any of these issues might make you a bit more anxious about your ability to find love and potentially more receptive to the con.
Where do the scammers get photos of themselves in these exotic locations and with these costly products? They troll other sites and steal other people's photos. Many are operating out of foreign countries, despite profiles saying they live nearby. When she declined, the messages got more desperate.
Budgyk knows this from experience: A Nigerian scammer lifted photos from Budgyk's profile. Their photographs are also likely of someone else, and that would be tough to explain in person. He sent heart-wrenching photos of a young girl, who appeared to be his daughter's age, hooked to a raft of medical monitors.
Fraudulent acts may involve access to the victim's money, bank accounts, credit cards, passports, e-mail accounts, or national identification numbers; or forcing the victims to commit financial fraud on their behalf.
This falsified passport was used in an actual internet romance scam.
Sh'reen Morrison had been on an online dating site for only a few weeks before she realized that something was seriously wrong with the man who had been actively pursuing her by text message and email.
They'd hit it off right away, and he said he lived just outside of Phoenix, which seemed relatively proximate to a woman in remote Yuma, Ariz.
Of course, real people sometimes have nice things and go to great places, but these visual cues are key to scammers who want to get your guard down for their future bid for cash.