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The convenience of online dating has exploded its popularity in recent years.

Even if you've never spent time on a dating website, the odds are good that some of your friends have.Roughly 42% of Americans know someone who dates online and more and more couples’ love stories start from the click of a mouse.Related: Identity Theft Statistics While there are some women who prey on unsuspecting men who use online dating services, women are more likely to be the victim of a romance scam.Seventy percent of the complaints lodged in 2011 involved women and more than half were 40 or older.One estimate puts the number of dating sites and apps in the U. at 2,500, and the total number worldwide surpasses 5,000.

Although some dating sites and apps are free, others charge a premium to gain access to profiles of romance-seeking men and women.All those incidents add up to a pretty penny that victims are getting fleeced out of.Online dating scams involving the exchange of money or property cost victims more than million in 2011 alone.With around half of all marriages ending in divorce, you have to wonder whether online dating ups the odds of staying together.Research shows that 6% of people who marry after meeting online break up, compared to 7.6% of people who found their spouse offline.Some people turn to online dating to meet new people and have a bit of fun, while others have a more long-term goal in mind.