At the last moment, their plans fall through due to tragedy – and only your money can bail them out so you can meet at last.
Scammers using false identities to gain the confidence of their marks is nothing new.
Many online dating sites allow anyone to join for free and they usually do not screen their members.
Scammers take advantage of the anonymity of the internet to create the 'perfect profile', making any number of promises to tempt their victims to letting their defences down. This will not happen immediately, however before long the scammer will ask for financial help for any number of reasons.
But the rise of online dating sites make it easier than ever for people to create fake personas for scams. Online dating has helped plenty of people find love, but users should keep in mind that some of those profiles are maintained by scammers.
By keeping risks in mind and looking out for red flags, users can spot romance fraud before they lose any money and prevent themselves from becoming a statistic.
One variant of the scam may date back to the 18th or 19th centuries, as a very similar letter, entitled "The Letter from Jerusalem", is seen in the memoirs of Eugène François Vidocq, a former French criminal and private investigator. One of these, sent via postal mail, was addressed to a woman's husband, and inquired about his health.
Another variant of the scam, dating back to circa 1830, appears very similar to what is passed via email today: "Sir, you will doubtlessly be astonished to be receiving a letter from a person unknown to you, who is about to ask a favour from you...", and goes on to talk of a casket containing 16,000 francs in gold and the diamonds of a late marchioness. It then asked what to do with profits from a .6 million investment, and ended with a telephone number.
Pretty much Opening yourself up emotionally, especially on a public online profile, takes a lot of courage and trust.
But you also need to balance that openness with some wariness and healthy skepticism, or you could be taken advantage of.
In that con, businessmen were contacted by an individual allegedly trying to smuggle someone connected to a wealthy family out of a prison in Spain.
In exchange for assistance, the scammer promised to share money with the victim in exchange for a small amount of money to bribe prison guards.
Keri Lynn is a content marketing specialist and writer at Awesome Motive.