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30 Nov

Unlike singles in the '70s, who cruised bars and discos and risked looking for love in all the wrong places, tens of millions of singles each day join and log on to online dating sites with the belief that their efforts to find love and companionship are safe and secure.

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?

Online relationships are similar in many ways to pen pal relationships.

This relationship can be romantic, platonic, or even based on business affairs.

“I think [the suspect's] capacity for depraved homicide would have been nearly impossible for anyone to detect without having done a complete psychological testing profile; even then, there would be no guarantees," Carmichael said.

Fox Reporter and FOX411 host Diana Falzone covers celebrity news and interviews some of today's top celebrities and newsmakers.

An internet relationship (or online relationship) is generally sustained for a certain amount of time before being titled a relationship, just as in-person relationships.

The major difference here is that an internet relationship is sustained via computer or online service, and the individuals in the relationship may or may not ever meet each other in person.

“It's easy to focus on the online dating aspect here, but really this could have happened to the victim if she had met Charlton at a bar or anywhere else," Carmichael said.

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

Bruce Anderson, director of Cyber Intelligence & Investigations, encourages cyber-daters to conduct a background check.

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

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.