Geographical mismatches are also bad signs, such as someone claiming to be in Brooklyn when their IP address points to the other side of the planet.Scamalytics also keeps track of the most popular pick-up lines used by online dating scammers.

Later, when she puzzled over their relationship, she'd remember this. That had been a fateful move; it made everything easier for him. After the funeral, a grief counselor told her to make no sudden changes in her life for at least a year, and she followed that advice.

Two sharp blows that had left her alone in her late 50s. His cancer took him swiftly, before she had time to process what was happening.

If one bot network pushes out the same garbled phrase to millions of profiles, it can quickly skew the pick-up line popularity contest.

These bots aren’t necessarily looking for love, or even for a direct cash transfer; they’re often simply trying to convince their marks to install something, like an app, in a case of direct marketing gone gross.“In some ways the target isn’t really the victim of anything other than having their time wasted, and installing a game that they don’t necessarily want,” says Winchester of these bot-based shakedowns.

The most popular con-man profile text in the UK, for example is “so please i want you to get back to me here with your email address so that i can send you my pictures so get back to me thanks.” Hard to imagine swiping right on that.

Quantity of text isn’t a great indicator, says Winchester, in part because of the growing popularity of bots.It would have been easy to burnish the truth, but she presented herself honestly, from her age (57) and hobbies ("dancing, rock collecting") to her financial status ("self sufficient").The picture — outdoor photo, big smile — was real, and recent.A short message sent on a Thursday evening in early December 2013, under the subject line: Match? She signed up for a six-month subscription to Match.com, the largest and one of the oldest dating services on the Web. Now she was all by herself in a house secluded at the end of a long gravel driveway. At first, she just tiptoed around the many dating sites, window-shopping in this peculiar new marketplace. It wasn't until the fall that Amy was ready to dive in.And if you replace “collect an inheritance” with “find true love,” they’re an increasing menace for dating apps and services. But they are an increasingly important front for criminals, who in turn use increasingly sophisticated methods to snare their marks, and take them for whatever they can.