Online dating scams from ghana
One in five Americans between 25 and 34 years of age have used online dating sites, according to Pew Research.
As Internet romance has become more accepted in society — and grown into a more than billion market — fraudsters have found ways to monetize the search for a partner, with organized crime rings around the globe now getting in on the action.
Relationships can last anywhere from 1-3 months before the Ghanaian correspondents will ask you for money.
There are several generic stories that are used: death or illness in the family, need to escape an abusive situation, visa and travel expenses, or arrest by customs officials for smuggling gold.
To protect yourself, O'Hearn suggested reading the tips online dating sites provide.
"Reputable dating sites have sections on how to protect yourself," she said.
The other key piece of advice is to use common sense.
It's a peak season for online dating, with the number of users usually swelling between New Year's Day and Valentine's Day.
Yet in the quest for love, online daters may find fraud instead.
"Dating sites are a real rich playground to mine data for other scams," O'Hearn told CNBC, who added that pulling off the fraud often involves multiple people.