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But soon after, she learned that the son had had an accident at school and needed help paying hospital bills — urgently.

“Of course I was sending money again to Western Union,” Firefly says.

“You pretend to be a victim and string them along, try to get them to waste as much of their time, money, and resources as you can,” he says.

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They ask you to: Did you know you can do an image search of your love interest’s photo in your favorite search engine?

If you do an image search and the person’s photo appears under several different names, you’re probably dealing with a scammer.

Her new boyfriend had a complicated backstory: He was an American soldier serving in Iraq, and he had a son living in Ghana.

But she had revealed to her new online beau how much she wanted children, and soon his 14-year-old son was emailing her.

Not everyone using online dating sites is looking for love. As if all that isn’t bad enough, romance scammers are now involving their victims in online bank fraud.

Scammers create fake online profiles using photos of other people — even stolen pictures of real military personnel. And they tug at your heartstrings with made-up stories about how they need money — for emergencies, hospital bills, or travel. Here’s how it works: The scammers set up dating profiles to meet potential victims.

“My friends advised me to go online and try to find someone to share my life with,” she says via Skype.

Firefly spent a lot of time on her profile, thinking she needed to be entirely honest and open if she hoped to really connect with someone.

But on the internet, she’s still looking for love in all the wrong places — this time, with a mission.

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