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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.

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And potential victims are lining up for many of these cons: 20% percent of the "swindler" profiles received at least 70 message before being deleted.

Because the "flower basket" scam is so culturally specific, it may be tempting to isolate it as a Chinese phenomenon. While the cultural particulars of online dating scams may change, the social and emotional forces at play are universal.

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Ask a single American city-dweller about deception in the world of online dating and you'll hear a litany of familiar, if not particularly serious, complaints: exaggerated heights, photos so flattering they border on fantasy, and horndog men who overstate their desire to settle down.

Ask their Chinese counterpart, and you're likely to hear a much wilder story.According to the study, these dates can cost anywhere from 0 to ,000.Afterward, of course, the bilked bachelor never hears from his date again."It's sort of a perfect scam," said Gianluca Stringhini, one of the study's co-authors, "because the person would never realize that they've been scammed." Indeed, as the study points out, the mark may have even had a good time while getting grifted.After some time, the grifter "will start implying that he wants to marry the victim" and will claim his parents require a gesture of good will: an incredibly expensive (up to ,000) flower basket as a lucky charm for a fictional new store.The grifter directs his victim to a local florist — who he knows — and then they share the profit.It's also, according to Stringhini, not strictly illegal, so the conspirators don't put themselves at much of a risk.