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You're at a severe disadvantage." Andersen met her now ex-husband via an online dating service and says he lied about everything, took all her money and left her deep in debt.In response, she founded, a resource to help others detect and recover from romance con artists.

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"They meet young, beautiful women on dating sites who are supposedly looking for love from older wealthy individuals," says Falzone.However, due to the anonymous nature of the process, hazards abound.Your credit and other financial interests may be at risk if you don't guard yourself from those falsely fishing for companionship.A "match" claiming to be able to help directs the person to a fictitious company website.The applicant then enters his Social Security number and other personal and financial data, which the thief uses to open new credit and loan accounts.Still, says Falzone, "It's an ongoing fight that doesn't end." What's a dater to do?

Use the computer advantageously, says Jennifer Leuer, general manager for Protect My ID.

According to Consumer Fraud, as much as 30 percent of online personalities are bogus. Because, says Donna Andersen, of Egg Harbor Township, N.

J., the Internet is good at disguising true intent. Sixty to 90 percent of human communication is nonverbal, so you're missing so much.

A study about online dating and credit habits by Protect My, Experian's identity theft protection program, found that nearly half of the respondents never verify the authenticity of their chat mates, and nearly 10 percent actually sent them their Social Security numbers or bank account information.

While most people using online dating websites are genuine, charlatans comprise an uncomfortable proportion.

Here's how to protect more than just your heart when seeking a mate via the Internet.