The picture — outdoor photo, big smile — was real, and recent.
And her pitch was straightforward: Looking for a life partner …
Web-based dating services first popped up in the mid-1990s and are now a billion industry.
As of December 2013, 1 in 10 American adults had used services such as Match.com, Plenty of Fish and e Harmony.
And she was full of questions, about him and about online dating in general.
She resolved to be pickier, only contacting men who were closely matched — 90 percent or more, as determined by the algorithm pulling the strings behind her online search. Back in college, she'd studied computer science and psychology, and she considered herself pretty tech-savvy. Two sharp blows that had left her alone in her late 50s. His cancer took him swiftly, before she had time to process what was happening. It had been over two years since the death of her husband of 20 years; four, since she had lost her mother.But as financial crimes go, the love con was a rare breed, too time- and labor-intensive to carry out in large numbers.It could take months or years of dedicated persuasion to pull off a single sting. Technology has streamlined communication, given scammers powerful new tools of deceit and opened up a vast pool of potential victims.*Names have been changed to protect identities En español 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.