Now she was all by herself in a house secluded at the end of a long gravel driveway. At first, she just tiptoed around the many dating sites, window-shopping in this peculiar new marketplace. It wasn't until the fall that Amy was ready to dive in.

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I came up with this hobby when I discovered a phenomenon I had not been aware of: romance scams.

This was when I had just started experimenting online dating.

Although some of these scams are certainly predictable, others are less so (especially the third and fourth scams).

Naturally, we offer tips to help you protect yourself from these online dating scams.

In the end, the money will be gone along with the person you thought you knew.

It used to be parents who worried about their children being picked up by unsavory types in bars and other seedy hang-outs.Those who swallow their pride and do it anyway are like gazelles pasturing on a savannah, easy game for vicious hyenas.When I started my adventures on the online dating scene, I was very naive.*Names have been changed to protect identities En espaƱol She wrote him first. In the summer, when the trees leafed out, you couldn't even see the road or the neighbors. She'd grown up here, in a conservative pocket of Virginia. When it came to meeting new people, however, her choices were limited. The holidays were coming, and she didn't want to face them alone.A short message sent on a Thursday evening in early December 2013, under the subject line: Match? She signed up for a six-month subscription to Match.com, the largest and one of the oldest dating services on the Web.Here are the four most common dating scams and what you can do to avoid them.