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Is it a case of looking for love in all of the wrong places, or just a few bad apples in an otherwise happy bushel?Truth is, many boomers often reach their 50s and older and find themselves uncoupled, either through death or divorce; they don't know where to turn.An email relationship progresses, Norton said, and the woman eagerly awaits the man's return home.But just before his return date, he emails that he was robbed of his documents and money and needs ,000 to bribe the officials to leave the country.“I thought he was too good to be true.”Chatting nightly over Yahoo!Messenger from October 2006 through February 2007, Walter, a self-described white collar engineer and college sports enthusiast, ended up taking the spellbound Meade for the ride of her life.“We were going to get married,” she recalls, fighting back tears.Online dating services are booming businesses, and the boomers who are joining them are doing so in big numbers.People aged 50 and older represent 25 percent of membership on the popular dating site -- a 45 percent jump in the last five years, a spokesman said.
But the number of complaints being made against them suggests that buyers should proceed cautiously, as the sites cannot promise safety from predators. Sites popular with boomers, like e Harmony.com, and Our (formerly called Senior People Meet.com), charge monthly fees that range from to (less if you sign up using a discount coupon or for multiple months).
But, the only thing that ran away from the 36-year-old single mother’s life of hardship would eventually be all her savings and the security she had entrusted with “Walter.”Meade, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, was one of millions of people who flock to the Internet each year in search of romance and a long term relationship.
Like many single women, the Midwestern mother of two and caretaker for her ailing father found many possibilities and opportunities when it came to meeting men online. Chat room one evening after working the night shift at her retail job, she met a man only a state away who enchanted her from the moment she first spoke with him.“He was extremely intelligent and came across as very romantic and genuinely interested in me,” Meade said.
"If you have an email address and want to be in a relationship, you can fall victim to this scam," she said.
"The fact that you are paying a dating site creates a false sense of security that the site is going to protect you from being taken." See our slideshow below for 10 tips from the Better Business Bureau to avoid getting ripped off in an online dating scam.