The lesson here is that online dating startups will need to step up their game to keep consumers safe.“In the war against online dating scams and security threats, we’ve chosen to do whatever is necessary to always be a few steps ahead of scammers, and not the other way around – which is usually too late for our users,” said Cupid.com’s CEO, Bill Dobbie.After discovering that his headshot consistently showed in hoax dating profiles (thanks to a Google alert), Army Master Sgt. “Over the past few years, I’ve seen these scammers use all kinds of photos removed from open Facebook pages, blogs, official military websites, and command pages,” he wrote in a blog post last month.

A romance scam, dating scam or catfishing is a swindle where someone tries to lure another into giving them money through a dating site, email romance, or otherwise dating-related contact.

If you are concerned that you are currently being scammed, please check the Signs of a Dating Scam, first.

Within hours of the expected arrival time, an emergency will strike: A work visa has expired, or their aunt/niece/child is sick and they need a few thousand dollars to be wired over so they can finally meet their intended.

In many cases, scammers will choose to use pictures of military personnel. Grisham set up a personal blog for soldiers to report their photo being used on online dating sites.

Be aware of this by not accepting chats or email contact with random strangers, and block contact with anyone on dating sites that doesn't fall within a certain geographic range.

Make sure that when one of these romance scammers contacts you that you let them know you're aware they aren't on the up and up, and then block them.

Learn more about how to protect yourself with About.com's Guide to Identity Theft.

Because you've already been a victim of a romance scam, you'll be put on a contact list for other fraudulent folks to contact you.

The scam typically works like this: A con artist, usually based in an Internet cafe overseas, will lift a photo from Facebook or another social networking site.

They will painstakingly craft a fake profile and begin targeting people that are looking for love.

“This decision has its high price tag, but the alternative can be much costlier,” he continued.