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For example, one victim in the case had just lost a spouse and “out of loneliness” accepted a Facebook friend request from a man who went by the name Frank, according to the complaint.

The two engaged in a romantic relationship communicating online via Facebook, Google Hangout and email.

For example, last December the FBI busted a Chicago-based crime ring that victimized at least 11 people through online romance scams.

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“Those two steps will stop almost every scam in its tracks and help protect the next potential victim.” Sometimes romance scammers zero in on people who are vulnerable due to divorce, abuse or alienation from their children, D’Antuono notes.En español | If you’re looking for love online, make sure to keep your wallet — if not your heart — under lock and key.Fraud cases are climbing as the number of dating sites and apps — and users — grow.Today the defendants are behind bars and awaiting trial, but authorities don’t expect romance fraud to fade away anytime soon.“We can’t arrest our way out of this situation,” says Steve D’Antuono, a 23-year FBI veteran who is chief of its Financial Crime Section in Washington.

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