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Looking online for love? Be careful. After meeting suitors on Match.com, a well-known dating site, victims across the U.S. have lost upward of hundreds of thousands of dollars to these criminals who pose as perfect partners.

When online dating descends into a big fat con, the emotional and financial wallop can be devastating, and older Americans are among those who have paid the price. It happens, as a top federal prosecutor in Oklahoma put it, to people looking for love, companionship and “a partner with whom to share their life.”

Consider the Utah woman, 81, who said she paid about $26 to subscribe to Match.com earlier this year only to meet a con man. Urging her off the dating site to message each other through Google Hangouts and WhatsApp, he pursued her relentlessly. The 21st century Svengali hid behind an attractive photo and said he was a 64-year-old native of Copenhagen, Denmark, educated in the U.S. and the owner of a construction firm and a four-bedroom home in Oklahoma. He called her “sweetheart,” “babe,” and the “love of my life.” Saying he was retiring in November, he promised they’d marry and began addressing her as “my…

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