More Australians are being duped by "romance fraud" or "love scam," particularly Christian women, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. Through dating or social networking sites and Christian chat rooms, online scammers posing as love interests have convinced people to send millions of dollars to places like Nigeria.

"They go into Christian chat rooms and a lot of the time when they ask for money, there's a Christian element to the [scammer's] story," Queensland police Fraud Squad chief Detective Inspector Brian Hay said. "It's a comfort thing for the victim. "We are seeing more targeted attacks because people put information about themselves on to the web."

USA Today's Cathy Lynn Grossman poses the question: "Do you worry that sharing your faith on dating or social networking online sites could attract people who treat your values as stepping stones to a scam—financial or spiritual?"

Christian Dating Watchdog
lists various dating sites that Christians should avoid because of a site's secular ownership, gay/lesbian profiles, or "questionable methods of advertising." However, it doesn't mention any troubling sites due to romance frauds.

There are few places that monitor these frauds, such as Internet Love Scams (ILS), which offers support to victims of romance frauds. It states, "A "normal" person wanting YOU, not what you can give them would not be asking you for money or goods. If they do, you are being scammed."

The site, which has several thousand members, finds that scammers will use any approaches that will catch your sympathy. Many of the ISL posters still believe the Internet is a powerful tool for finding one's soul mate. Sometimes, the fraud continues: ILS knows that scammers have the audacity to join as members and then try to con other members who are trying to recover.

Australian police found that sometimes the online relationships develop over months before the scammers ask for money. Queensland Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson called romance frauds "a particularly cruel scam" as it targets people who are oftentimes "lonely and vulnerable."

Does the potential for romance fraud dissuade you from developing relationships on the Internet? Why do you think Christian women are particularly susceptible to fraud?