The victims reported collective losses of .4 million, which is likely only a fraction of the actual losses since many victims are too embarrassed to file a report, the FBI said.

About 70% of the victims were female; more than half were women 40 years or older.

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"I left my heart out there, and this guy took advantage of it," the 51-year old Best said.

In 2011, the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center received 5,600 complaints from victims of so-called "romance scammers" -- criminals who scan online dating sites, chat rooms and social networking sites for potential victims.

Last fall, I became a barista in a small, “socially responsible” coffee company.

A few months later, I got a temporary paralegal position at one of the world’s biggest multinational, corporate law firms.

In a typical con, the perpetrator will spend weeks or even months building up a romantic relationship with a victim through e-mails, texts or phone calls, before eventually asking for money.

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