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Read our cookie policy to find out what they're used for and how to change your cookie settings.Just over a year ago, the Department of Justice announced that seven men—six from Nigeria and one from South Africa—had pleaded guilty to conning tens of millions of dollars from Americans via online dating sites.Please note that Consumer Reports collects fees from both e Bay Commerce Network and Amazon for referring users.We use 100% of these fees to fund our testing programs.What characteristics are you looking for in a partner – what are ‘deal-breakers’, and which factors are you willing to let slide?Are you looking for someone that will act as a stepdad or stepmom to your children, or simply a partner for companionship?While the case was remarkable for its magnitude, when it comes to so-called “romance scams,” it still represents just the tip of the iceberg.According to the FBI, romance scams and similar confidence scams cost consumers more money than any other kind of Internet fraud.

You’re certainly not alone - the recent census found that New York City is home to just over 720,000 single-parent families by itself – so there are plenty of other single parents out there looking for love!

And if you’ve been communicating with someone by email, check their address at a site such as Romance Scams, which compiles lists of email addresses belonging to known scammers. Type the name of the person you met online into Google or Bing and see what comes up. If you are asked to send money and feel so inclined, run the whole scenario by someone you trust.

The website Scamalytics maintains a blacklist of scammers who use false pictures. You might not be able to surface information like criminal records, but from their social media profiles, Linked In page, and other information you find, you should be able to get a sense of whether what they are telling you comports with the facts. For example, if a person you met online claims to run a business abroad, call the U. Choose a friend or someone from your church or community who is less emotionally invested than you are. And remember: If the request for funds is indeed a scam, it may be difficult, if not impossible, to ever recover the money.

Shopping links are provided by e Bay Commerce Network and Amazon, which makes it easy to find the right product from a variety of online retailers.

Clicking any of the links will take you to the retailer's website to shop for this product.

To recognize and avoid romance scams, follow these tips. Copy the images your online correspondent has posted to his or her profile, then run them through a reverse-image search engine, such as Tin Eye or Google Images.

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