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He also sent her a link to a song, pop star Marc Anthony's "I Need You." "It holds a message in it," he told her, "a message that delivers the exact way i feel for you." Amy clicked on the link to the song, a torrid ballad that ends with the singer begging his lover to marry him. In pre-digital times, romance scammers found their prey in the back pages of magazines, where fake personal ads snared vulnerable lonely hearts.
But as financial crimes go, the love con was a rare breed, too time- and labor-intensive to carry out in large numbers.
As of December 2013, 1 in 10 American adults had used services such as Match.com, Plenty of Fish and e Harmony.
The mainstreaming of online dating is a revolution in progress, one that's blurring the boundaries between "real" and online relationships.
But who knew exactly how these online dating services worked?
Web-based dating services first popped up in the mid-1990s and are now a billion industry.
She resolved to be pickier, only contacting men who were closely matched — 90 percent or more, as determined by the algorithm pulling the strings behind her online search. Back in college, she'd studied computer science and psychology, and she considered herself pretty tech-savvy.