PORTLAND -- The quest for love is rarely easy, but it can be even tougher to find online. Lonely singles are not the only ones browsing on line dating websites. So are criminals driven by a love of other people's money.
"You hear about people getting scammed out of $2,000, but I got scammed out of $17,000," said a middle-aged Portland-area woman who asked to remain anonymous.
She's afraid of the two men who scammed her into wiring away her savings. Most likely the con artists are part of an organized crime ring operating overseas.
Her first online date contacted her soon after she joined Christianmingle.com. He supposedly lived in the Seattle area, but had to make an emergency flight to his home in Spain where his mother needed emergency surgery.
"I honestly believed him when he told me he loved me and he was going to be here with me, but first he had to care for his sick Mom," said the local woman who wired the crook $14,000.
It got so bad her own family held an intervention hoping to protect her from someone she had never actually met in person.
"I was crying and telling my family it's not true, you just don't know him," she said.
When she stopped wiring money, her online date vanished. Within weeks she was contacted by another man who texted sexy pictures and claimed to live in the Seattle area but worked overseas sometimes as an antiques dealer.
It wasn't long before she was wiring him thousands of dollars. Even after all that's happened, she admits she just signed up again on the same online dating website.
KGW asked her why she went back online to date after losing $20,000.
"Well, I actually lost more than $20,000. Now that I think about it and I just figure I'll give it one more try," she said.
Christianmingle.com does warn it's users about these scams, which have become quite common on all online dating websites.
The biggest red flag is if your online date presses you to leave the dating website where you met and communicate using personal email. The FBI also warns you to watch out for any on line date claiming to be from the U.S. and is traveling overseas.