But not everyone who hopes to find a mate online is falling blissfully in love.
In some cases, legitimate romance blooms -- and the hope of that happening seems to fuel the booming memberships on these sites.
But the number of complaints being made against them suggests that buyers should proceed cautiously, as the sites cannot promise safety from predators. Sites popular with boomers, like e Harmony.com, and Our (formerly called Senior People Meet.com), charge monthly fees that range from to (less if you sign up using a discount coupon or for multiple months).
After they establish some lovely correspondence with you, fall in love and maybe even send a couple of cheap presents, they will either: a) be almost on their way to meet you, but something will happen to them: they will get robbed, beaten, get into the hospital, or other misfortune will happen and of course you will be their only contact to ask for financial help, or: b) tell you that their employer pays them with Money Orders or checks, and they can't cash them in Nigeria.
They will send you the Money Orders or checks and ask you to deposit them into your bank account and then wire the money to them via Western Union.
Every online dating site has its own ways of letting people's relationships develop -- instant message, texting, ways to exchange more photos.
It often progresses to off-site emailing and in-person meets, in which the site has no role.An email relationship progresses, Norton said, and the woman eagerly awaits the man's return home.But just before his return date, he emails that he was robbed of his documents and money and needs ,000 to bribe the officials to leave the country."If you have an email address and want to be in a relationship, you can fall victim to this scam," she said."The fact that you are paying a dating site creates a false sense of security that the site is going to protect you from being taken." See our slideshow below for 10 tips from the Better Business Bureau to avoid getting ripped off in an online dating scam.These sites, along with dozens of other smaller ones, allow you to post a profile of yourself and view the profiles of others.