In other cases, the scammer claims to be a victim of a mugging or needs help paying for a visa, travel expenses or bail after a wrongful arrest.
Whatever the crisis, the scam artist inevitably asks for money, often promising to pay it back within a short period of time.
Dating scams are a type of internet fraud that involves using fake dating profiles to con large sums of money from someone.
Scammers typically use chat rooms and social media sites to troll for potential victims and build a relationship.
Armed with this incriminating information, the scammer threatens to post the content on "cheater" websites or send it to loved ones.
The best defense against dating scams is to learn the early warning signs.
Once scammers gain someone's trust, they come up with phony reasons to ask for money or convince the unwitting victim to perform illegal acts, such as check fraud.
Anyone can fall prey to a dating scam, but the most common targets are: Be cautious of any stranger who rapidly tries to start and escalate an online romance.
In the first scenario, the scammer claims to have a financial crisis or a family emergency.
Sometimes, it's a sick relative who desperately needs care or the chance to make a big profit from a professional project, which of course, requires urgent startup cash.
Ask their Chinese counterpart, and you're likely to hear a much wilder story.
A new study, "Quit Playing Games With My Heart: Understanding Online Dating Scams," a collaboration between University College London and Jiayuan, China's largest dating site, revealed the unbelievably creative and involved cons that plague online dating there.