"I even heard from the Army about the photograph and identity of an actual retired general being used in an attempt to scam older women," says Sluppick.Whatever the angle, if you fall for the first come-on, you'll get follow-up pleas until you wise up or run out of money.
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Not every Valentine's Day story has a happy ending.
Consider the New Jersey man in his 60s who committed suicide after losing his retirement savings to an alleged sweetheart he met on the Internet.
After that, you'll never hear from your sweetheart again.
So if you're seeking a match in cyberspace, know the warning signs of con-panionship: Sid Kirchheimer is the author of Scam-Proof Your Life, published by AARP/ Sterling Books.
Romance cons often involve "reshipping" schemes, in which you're sent merchandise purchased with stolen credit cards and told to forward it to an overseas sweetheart.
There's a new twist that Sluppick says is "growing by leaps and bounds" (though firm statistics are few because victims are usually too embarrassed to report it): Romance scammers are claiming to be soldiers in order to target patriotic women of all ages.Users looking for a same-sex relationship will be matched on e Harmony's sister site, When it began, e Harmony did not offer same-sex matches; it now offers them through a separate service, Compatible Partners.Prospective members complete a proprietary questionnaire about their characteristics, beliefs, values, emotional health and skills.Matching algorithms, which the company believes matches people's core traits and values to replicate the traits of happy couples, use these answers to match members with users the company believes will be compatible.After three years of research in collaboration with Galen Buckwalter, Warren developed a model of compatibility that is now the basis of the company's matching system.