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Of course, people have always been fools for love — it’s just that the global reach and altered reality of the Internet increases the risk and can make the emotional and financial damage more severe.“I don’t think there is a general understanding of how much of this romance scam stuff is out there, how it works and what the consequences are,” said Steven Baker, director of the Midwest region of the Federal Trade Commission.

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DATING websites and apps typically see a surge in activity this time of year as people who felt lonely over the holidays try to follow through on New Year’s resolutions to find someone special with whom to share their life, or maybe just someone agreeable to share their bed on a cold winter’s night.

But whether they’re looking for sexcapades or long walks on the beach, the desire for companionship and connection makes people vulnerable to a most 21st-century crime: the online romance scam, which bilked victims of all ages and orientations out of more than 0 million last year, according to the F. I.“The drive to find a preferred mate is extremely powerful,” said Lucy Brown, a clinical professor of neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, who studies the brain activity of people in love.

In contrast, the settled Fulani live permanently in villages and cities.

Although both groups share a common language and origin, they regard themselves as only distantly related.

They are among the most widely dispersed and culturally diverse peoples in all of Africa.

Many Fulani trace their beginnings back one thousand years to the Senegambia area.

By the eighteenth century some had migrated as far east as the Niger and Benue Rivers (now in Nigeria).

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, some Fulani populations adopted the Islamic religion and initiated jihads (holy wars) in several parts of West Africa.

Or it could be some dude at a Starbucks texting victims on his cellphone, or a pajama-clad woman in her apartment sending bogus love bombs from her laptop.

They may assume the identity of actual soldiers deployed overseas or pretend to be engineers working on projects in far-flung locales. “They are able to manipulate the victim into believing they have found their one true soul mate.”Victims are as likely to be men as women, young, old or middle-aged, gay or straight, highly or poorly educated.

Today, one finds both nomadic, pastoral Fulani (mbororo'en) and settled Fulani (Fulbe wuro).