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The AARP network recommends that from the beginning, dating site members use Google’s “search by image” to see if the suitor’s picture appears on other sites with different names.

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As a result of investigations into more than two dozen complaints by victims in the state, Vermont’s Legislature is poised to pass a law requiring online dating sites to notify members quickly when there is suspicious activity on their accounts or when another member has been barred on suspicion of financial fraud.

Victims typically lose $40,000 to $100,000, said Wendy Morgan, chief of the Public Protection Division of the Vermont Attorney General’s Office.

The highest reported loss in the state was $213,000.

Swindlers can gain access to the lovelorn by hacking into a dormant dating profile and altering such information as age, gender and occupation, according to Vermont investigators.

31, 2014, nearly 6,000 people registered complaints of such confidence fraud with losses of $82.3 million, according to the federal Internet Crime Complaint Center.

Older people are ideal targets because they often have accumulated savings over a lifetime, own their homes and are susceptible to being deceived by someone intent on fraud.

“These are threads in all confidence schemes,” said Mr.

Farquhar, who is the section’s chief of the intellectual property and cyberenabled crimes. has personnel in a number of countries, including Nigeria and Ghana, where Internet romance swindlers operate.

Victims who are looking for romance but find online criminals instead should alert authorities, he said.“It’s imperative for someone who thinks they have been scammed to move quickly and notify the bank and law enforcement authorities,” he said. Despite warnings, the digital version of the romance con is now sufficiently widespread that AARP’s Fraud Watch Network in June urged online dating sites to institute more safeguards to protect against such fraud.

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