While Internet schemes carried out overseas in Africa and Europe are nothing new, con artists are increasingly using online dating sites to recruit unwitting accomplices, the FBI said.
Not long ago, the prevalent scheme on the Internet involved luring people into fake business ventures. But the growth of dating Web sites such as Singles.net and Match.com has given criminals another way to carry out their schemes, said Cathy Sloan, an FBI spokeswoman.
"These scammers have to go with whatever (is) the flavor of the month," she said.
The FBI does not keep statistics on schemes involving online dating sites. But Romance- scam.com has 10,600 members who claim to be victims, said Barbara Sluppick, who started the site with a friend two years ago. In a survey by the site, 760 members reported losing more than $6 million in various schemes, she said.