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Amy was charmed — Duane was nothing like the local men she'd met so far.

*Names have been changed to protect identities En español She wrote him first. In the summer, when the trees leafed out, you couldn't even see the road or the neighbors. She'd grown up here, in a conservative pocket of Virginia. When it came to meeting new people, however, her choices were limited. The holidays were coming, and she didn't want to face them alone.

A short message sent on a Thursday evening in early December 2013, under the subject line: Match? She signed up for a six-month subscription to Match.com, the largest and one of the oldest dating services on the Web.

The picture — outdoor photo, big smile — was real, and recent.

And her pitch was straightforward: Looking for a life partner …

I really like your profile and I like what I have gotten to know about you so far.

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