Today, many people are perfectly comfortable initiating friendships, or more than that, with strangers online. Unfortunately, people aren't always who they say they are online. Those who believe they've found their true love online can quickly find out that they were being played the whole time.
Romance scams typically involve the supposed sweetheart asking for money. This direct route is surprisingly effective. The scammer asks for money for bills, repairs, etc. The scam victim happily agrees to help out their beloved. The coup de grace comes in the form of travel expenses. The scammer says they're finally going to meet in person, but they need money for plane tickets or other costs.
Avoiding romance scams isn't too difficult. Don't send money to a romantic interest that you haven't actually met. The scams typically use a fake profile with fake pictures. They will refuse to go on camera or even talk on the phone because they do not match the identity they have presented.