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But the apparent murder and dismemberment of Ingrid Lyne, a 40-year-old Seattle-area mother of three, has sent shockwaves throughout the cyber-romance world, with many begging the question: Is anyone safe?

Lyne disappeared last Friday after leaving to meet a date, who police identified as John Robert Charlton, 37.

THE COMPANY ALSO DOES NOT INQUIRE INTO THE BACKGROUNDS OF ALL OF ITS MEMBERS OR ATTEMPT TO VERIFY THE STATEMENTS OF ITS MEMBERS.

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"You're looking for a connection, someone you're physically attracted to -- who's physically attracted to you -- plus someone who doesn't make you feel bored from the get-go," Schwartz tells Web MD. "But don't let the love bug mesmerize you," says Paul Falzone, author of the book, Find the Right One and CEO of "The Right One"and "Together," two nationwide dating services.

Falzone tells a story of a North Carolina woman who fell "totally in love" with a Massachusetts man she met online. Eventually, he encouraged her to sell her house, pack everything into a truck, and prepare herself and her two young children for a new life.

Charlton reportedly has a lengthy rap sheet, including misdemeanor assaults — but it’s unlikely his dating profile mentioned that detail.

So, how do you protect yourself when you try online dating?

Dating is the path to love -- and that path, as we know, can be a minefield. "You're going to go through a lot of people, until you find someone where there is some kinetic thing, some magnetism, some desire to know more," says Pepper Schwartz, Ph D, a sociologist at the University of Washington in Seattle.

There's serious stuff out there, like HIV and STDs, date rape, online stalkers.Here is an excerpt from under the subcategory "Your Interactions with Other Members." “YOU ARE SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR INTERACTIONS WITH OTHER MEMBERS.YOU UNDERSTAND THAT THE COMPANY CURRENTLY DOES NOT CONDUCT CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS OR SCREENINGS ON ITS MEMBERS.Her ex-husband reported her missing on Saturday — and a dismembered body, including a severed head and foot tentatively identified as Lyne's, were discovered Monday in a recycling bin in Seattle’s Central District.Friends said Lyne met Charlton a few months earlier through an as-yet-unnamed online dating site.Then comes the email saying, "I can't go through with this.

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