There have been some lonely moments for Barbara Marks since her husband of nearly four decades died five years ago.
To help fill the void, Marks recently began searching for companionship.
"I've been looking for somebody so I won't be alone anymore," she said.
So when a friend in November told her about a dating service called Great Expectations, Marks was intrigued.
Because Marks, 65, has no computer, the friend invited her over and the two filled out an online application.
"The friend told me it was supposed to be free," Marks said.
Excited by the possibilities, Marks told the dating service she was interested in joining. On Nov. 25, Great Expectations sent a car to pick up Marks from her home in Arlington Heights and drove her to the company's office in Schaumburg.
Marks said she listened to the pitch, thought it sounded good and agreed to sign up.
"(The salesman) told me they had a lot of women who did this and fell in love and got married," she said.
At no point did the salesman tell her what the service would cost, Marks said.
"They didn't tell me anything," she said. "They just said, 'get out your credit card.' I filled out whatever they told me to fill out."
Before signing the contract, Marks read the two pages of fine print, she said.
"I didn't even know what I was reading," she said.
She said it wasn't until the Great Expectations employee returned with her credit card and a receipt that she realized how much the service cost — $4,495.
"My heart fell to the floor," Marks said.
She said she didn't say anything at the time because she was confused and unsure what to do.
"The price was ridiculous. When I was on the computer with my girlfriend, she said everything was supposed to be free," Marks said. "They were taking advantage of me."
Before she became widowed, her husband handled the couple's finances. After he passed, the couple's son, Phillip Marks, took over that responsibility.
Phillip Marks said he previously had placed an alert on his mother's Discover card so the credit card company would send him an email notifying him of large purchases.
On Nov. 28, the younger Marks received an alert about the $4,495 charge.