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They also weed out people who don't want a long-term relationship, or those with whom you're basically incompatible — say, people with vastly different educational backgrounds or religious beliefs. Daniel Williams with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre said most victims are over 40, fresh out of a long-term relationship and haven't dated for decades."They're vulnerable, trusting, emotionally fragile, and the scammers seem to pick up on that from a mile away," Williams said."We all think we're unique, but really we're not.

The scams are easy enough to dodge — all it takes is 15 minutes.The study's authors sifted through decades of research about what makes people romantically compatible."It is very very difficult, if not impossible, to predict initial chemistry using variables assessed before two people meet each other," said study co-author Paul Eastwick, an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin."The algorithms are not scientifically valid and are extremely unlikely to generate compatible matches."In other words, matchmaking sites simply can't account for how two people will get along in person — chemistry, if you will.And, as it turns out, what we find attractive in a profile doesn't sync up with what we go for in the real world."People have elaborate laundry lists of qualities they think they want in a partner, and they like online dating profiles that fit this laundry list," Eastwick said."However, upon a face-to-face meeting, most of this list goes out the window — people instead rely on their gut-level reaction to another person."The other problem, according to the research, is the emphasis placed on clients' similarities."To be sure, similarity on some dimensions, like race and religion, does predict relationship well-being," two of the study's co-authors wrote in The New York Times."However, the vast majority of people mate with demographically similar partners anyway, so such findings aren't especially useful in helping dating sites narrow a client's pool of potential partners."The Times piece goes on to say, "None of this suggests that online dating is any worse a method of meeting potential romantic partners than meeting in a bar or on the subway.it's a type where people feel devastated for years afterwards," Williams said."It really can be heartbreaking."Williams urges victims to file a report with their local police department and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses.So Google everything."There's no way you can verify what's on the other end of a keyboard," Williams said."If you're at the point where you think, ' I want to share my innermost secrets with this person,' you should meet the person within three days.

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