There are many web sites that promise international dating with interesting, sophisticated people (usually women) from faraway places.Even on sites that let you search for local dates, it's not uncommon to get a message from someone who lives thousands of miles away.It can be tempting to explore an international romance.

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E-mail "phishing" schemes use official-looking messages to trick you into revealing your social security number, bank account number, and other important personal and financial information.

Dating exchanges are another way for dishonest people to get your data.

If an online friend offers you a stock tip, a business investment, or any other route to easy money, be suspicious. If not, why would you trust someone you've only met online?

Maybe you're curious about the person's country or culture.

People certainly have found true love with online matches from far away.

Before you write, be aware of these international dating scams.

It's usually a beautiful woman, often from a developing country. In the glow of a new romance, you think you'll be the savior who helps her out. Women in some regions make money scamming wealthier men.

After you've exchanged a few messages, she begins to spin a story of illness in her family or a disaster on her farm. There might be four or five other people sending cash for her sister's operation and she doesn't even have a sister.

Men have used similar scams to trick online daters out of their money.

One man had his online girlfriend cash money orders for him.

The money orders turned out to be fraudulent and her bank held her responsible.