PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – 3 On Your Side has a warning about a romance scam. Online dating sites are more popular than ever. Authorities say criminals are taking notice and cashing in.

Eyewitness News spoke to a man via SKYPE who calls himself “Wayne”. He says he gets death threats from men and women for “exposing” them as scammers.

“I’m not bothered. They’d have to find me first.”

Eyewitness News found “Wayne” through his website

On it, you’ll find a database of thousands of pictures that were allegedly stolen and used by scammers and a database of emails scammers created to target and rob those searching for love online.

“We’re never going to stop them from scamming, but we can educate more people so that’s our goal.”

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Through the website, we also met a woman who asked to remain anonymous.

“I was disappointed in myself because I knew better. He really became a dear friend. I think I wanted it to be true”

That is until the man asked for $25,000 to bail him out of a crisis. She didn’t buy it and the friendship was over.

“Every question I asked and every quiz I gave, he passed.”

And she says that’s why she agreed to share her story.

“This is happening to good people that are intelligent.”

The FBI calls the scam a significant problem and recently issued an “Intelligence Note”

Brian Herrick with the FBI explained, “More and more we are seeing people using this as a way to try and gain people’s confidence and then capitalize on that.”

Authorities say so far they’ve heard from thousands of victims.

Insiders say many more cases go unreported yet millions of dollars are lost to this scam every year.

To protect yourself, authorities point to:

On the website, various resources are available including tips on how to spot a scammer including:

– They won’t go on a webcam
– They immediately start calling you pet names
– They over-use emotions
– To them, love equals financial assistance

If you’ve fallen victim and would like to report the incident to authorities, you may do so on this website:

Reported by Elizabeth Hur, CBS 3

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