The pictures you were sent were most likely phony lifted from other websites.

The profiles were fake as well, carefully crafted to match your interests.

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We strongly recommend, however, that if you think you’ve been victimized by a dating scam or any other online scam, file a complaint with our Internet Crime Complaint Center (

Before forwarding the complaints to the appropriate agencies, IC3 collates and analyzes the data—looking for common threads that could link complaints together and help identify the culprits. Here are some tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of an online dating scam.

If you believe you are the victim of an online dating scam or any Internet facilitated crime, please file a report at

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These criminals—who also troll social media sites and chat rooms in search of romantic victims—usually claim to be Americans traveling or working abroad. While their most common targets are women over 40 who are divorced, widowed, and/or disabled, but every age group and demographic is at risk. 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.

In addition to losing your money to someone who had no intention of ever visiting you, you may also have unknowingly taken part in a money laundering scheme by cashing phony checks and sending the money overseas and by shipping stolen merchandise (the forwarded package).

In another recently reported dating extortion scam, victims usually met someone on an online dating site and then were asked to move the conversation to a particular social networking site, where the talk often turned intimate.

One way to steer clear of these criminals altogether is to stick to online dating websites with nationally known reputations.