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Amy was charmed — Duane was nothing like the local men she'd met so far."You certainly have a great sense of humor and a way with words," she responded.But much of the note consisted of flirty jokes ("If I could be bottled I would be called 'eau de enigma' ") and a detailed imaginary description of their first meeting: It's 11 am when we arrive at the restaurant for brunch.The restaurant is a white painted weatherboard, simple but well-kept, set on the edge of a lake, separated from it by an expansive deck, dotted (not packed) with tables and comfortable chairs….The picture — outdoor photo, big smile — was real, and recent.And her pitch was straightforward: Looking for a life partner …
"It is kind of a strange way to meet people," she wrote, "but it's not as cold as hanging around the produce department at the Kroger's." She also mentioned the deception she'd already encountered on previous dates — "lots of false advertising or 'bait and switch' folks," she wrote.
"It is amazing what people will do without conscience.
I think it is always best to be whom we are and not mislead others." By December 17, they had exchanged eight more emails.
Duane suggested they both fill out questionnaires listing not only their favorite foods and hobbies but also personality quirks and financial status. An impostor poses as a suitor, lures the victim into a romance, then loots his or her finances.
He also sent her a link to a song, pop star Marc Anthony's "I Need You." "It holds a message in it," he told her, "a message that delivers the exact way i feel for you." Amy clicked on the link to the song, a torrid ballad that ends with the singer begging his lover to marry him. In pre-digital times, romance scammers found their prey in the back pages of magazines, where fake personal ads snared vulnerable lonely hearts.
Web-based dating services first popped up in the mid-1990s and are now a $2 billion industry.