(WJBF) - More and more people are looking for love on line. While some find it, others wind up with their hearts and bank accounts broken.

"We met on Match dot com back in November 2008."

Meet Damon Putzier, an executive producer at here NewsChannel 6.

Damon met Andrea online almost a decade ago, fell in love and tied the knot.

"Happily married, been married for eight years have two little boys," says Damon. "Life is good."

Another WJBF producer, Danielle Casalie, was finding it hard to meet people when she moved to Augusta from Texas.

So she tried online dating where she says it paid to be patient.

"I was actually getting a little frustrated and about to get off before I met David," says Danielle.

The couple married last November.

Two online dating success stories right here in our newsroom.

But before you search for your soul mate on the internet, here's something you should know.

According to the FBI, romance scams, when compared to other online crimes, result in the highest amount of financial losses to victims.

Nearly 15 thousand complaints were reported last year with more than 230 million dollars in losses.

A senior associate producer here at NewsChannel 6 said he could easily have become a victim.

"She was saying a lot of things that were feeling good to hear."

Mike Ludwikowski, a widower for seven years, was finally ready to get back in the dating game.

He began communicating online with someone called "Tracy" from Columbia, South Carolina.

Tracy claimed to be in the jewelry business.

They'd been chatting about a week when she told him she was going on a business trip to Dubai.

"Everything sounded fine until I get an email saying I've hit a problem," says Mike. "I'm in customs and I can't get my goods out of the country without 4-thousand dollars, can you help me."

She even sent a photo as proof.

"It's called Catfishing," says Carole Romero, a financial crimes investigator with the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

She stopped by our station to talk with Mike about his potentially dangerous online connection.

"People who have criminal intent sit at their computer and think of ways to scam people," says Romero.

Mike, while tempted, wasn't about to take the bait.

"Mike is savvy, he knows this is not a situation he wants to put money into," says Romero.

Many others will fall for the flattery and their online search for love ends in tragedy.

"When you have those feelings of love or affection, new feelings, you tend to not listen to that little voice in your head that says that's just not right because they know how to work you".

The FBI offers this advice.

Do your homework.

Research the person's photo and profile.

Go slow and ask a lot of questions.

Beware. If the individual seems too perfect or asks you to leave a dating service and go "Offline".

And never send money to anyone you don't know personally.

"It's sad to think there are people out there that love to prey on people's loneliness," says Mike.

Mike is counting his blessings that he wasn't burned and plans to get out and meet people the old fashion way.

If you think you may be the victim of a romance scam, file a complaint on line at ic3.gov


Weird News

Video Center

Latest CSRA News

Video Center