When Morrison suggested that her suitor put his daughter on a plane to get better medical attention at home -- and even offered to pick the girl up at the airport -- a new crisis struck.By then, Morrison knew she was dealing with a scammer.

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The company launched its first website in January 1997 and expanded its business in more cities throughout Russia and Ukraine.

Following the growth of Anastasia Date, the company spun off three websites during 2007, each connecting western men with women from different areas of the world: Amo Latina, Asian Beauties, and Africa Beauties.

Researchers say some of the techniques might actually enable anti-social behavior, a common problem on dating sites in general.

[related] On OKCupid, for example, some male users indiscriminately gave all profiles four or five stars to get noticed by each potential partner they rated.

In the Fortune interview, Brooks said that his goal was to improve the reputation of Anastasia Date and the international online dating industry as a whole, saying that the industry is "on the cusp of respectability".

The company alleged in a US Federal Court in New York complaint that EM Online had created two websites, and ruadventures.com, to broadcast fabricated, negative testimonials, but the complaint was dismissed.

Though the amounts and details of the scam vary from victim to victim, when it comes to romance scams, the con is almost always the same: The crook wants to get a besotted victim to wire money or provide access to a credit card.

If the victim doesn't figure out the con after the first request for cash, the crook will keep milking the relationship for as much as he or she can get.

Cam share (audio not enabled) costs six credits a minute. The Fortune article observes: "And thanks to people like me willing to pay to talk with beautiful young women like Anastasia – who was paid to respond – the trade is doing pretty well".