The dating game is increasingly played online. According to a study from the Pew Research Center, nearly 36 million Americans — roughly 15 percent of the adult population — have used an online dating site or mobile app, compared with just 3 percent a decade ago.
Of those who have used the technology, 80 percent say it is a good way to meet people. But unlike other computer games, the risks in online dating are not just virtual.
"You're dealing with total strangers, and so I think that's one of the reasons that it's ripe for potential fraud," Arizona Assistant Attorney General Scott Blake told CNBC's "American Greed."
Consider the case of serial grifter Daylon Pierce, now serving a 15-year prison sentence for fraud after he used online dating sites as hunting grounds for scam victims. He conned 13 women out of around $1.8 million in various frauds between 2013 and 2016.
"I'm guilty," Pierce told "American Greed" in an exclusive telephone interview from the Red Rock Correctional Center in Eloy, Arizona, where he is serving his time. "I sit here and think about everything that I've done wrong, and it's millions of dollars that people's lost. You know it's my fault. I take the responsibility, and I got to live with it."
One of the women — "Gina," who spoke to "America Greed" on the condition that her real name would not be used — says Pierce was a charmer alright. But his real modus operandi eventually became clear.
"Suck the life out of us victims. Take us for whatever you can, and fast. That's what he did," she said.
Of course, the successful, happy, fraud-free relationships begun online far outweigh the bad ones. But online dating expert Julie Spira, author of "The Perils of Cyber-Dating," says these days, you cannot be too careful.
"It's not that sexy and romantic to do a background check, but some of the things that you can find that are revealed are maybe lawsuits, judgments, even an alias on someone if they're pretending to be someone else," she told "American Greed."