New Yorkers are crossing their fingers instead of crossing their hearts when looking for loving online.

One-third of New Yorkers lie in their online dating profiles, and New York is the third least-honest city, right behind Washington, D.C. and Atlanta, according to a new survey by the online dating auction site whatsyourprice.com.

Not surprised? Sahra Chung, 29, of Chelsea wasn't either -- even the man she married massaged the truth in his online profile, advertising himself as a year younger than he was. But her husband's white lie paled compared to the whoppers exposed in other suitors' online profiles, like the guy who said he was 30 when he was 41. Or the man who added a full six inches to his height.

"Another guy told me he didn't smoke, but he had weed growing in his back yard in Long Island," Chung said, a store manager." One said he had an athletic build, but he was fat. Men lie online about anything that might prevent them from meeting who they want" said Chung.

Numerous studies have been done on online dating chicanery, with many showing that women are most likely to lie about their age and weight (a University of Wisconsin study showed that women shave off an average of 8.5 pounds), while men are most likely to exaggerate their height and incomes - as well as lie about their marital or relationship status.

In terms of finding mates, virtual courtship is perhaps the ultimate double-edged sword: Almost 20% of American adults report finding love online -- but another 32% know of someone whose relationship shattered as a result of a computer-generated alliance, according to a survey of 1,000 people released this month by Euro RSCG Worldwide, a public relations firm.

Some "romance scammers" concoct outrageous deceptions with an intent to defraud, but more commonly online dating is a "culture of small fibs," with love hungry singles grooming facts to seem slightly younger, more prosperous, interesting, active, thinner or glamorous to elicit interest, said Diana Kirschner, PhD, and author of "Find Your Soulmate Online in Six Simple Steps." Many daters tweak their vitals just to pop up in the searches of potential partners, and may explain their misreporting in attached copy blocks, she added. Kirschner isn't convinced that New York singles are more deceptive than anyone else, but allowed "people come to New York to succeed: You could argue that they're used to taking an edge or pushing the envelope and that carries over," to the hunt for mates, she said.

It's not surprising that New Yorkers embellish their online personas, given their propensity for enhancing themselves, noted Tara Ramrattan, 28, a manager at True Hair Company in Manhattan. With a nod at her stock of wigs, weaves and extensions, Ramrattan, of Ozone Park, declared, "Everyone in New York is trying to be someone they're not." Ramrattan swore off internet dating after a guy she met online stalked her and popped up, unwanted, at her father's funeral. She was less miffed by cyberfictions involving his age and appearance than by his failure to mention "he was crazy!"

"Guys try to impress ladies: That's how dating works," but honesty really is the best policy, argued Kevin Emery, 31, a line cook from Bed Stuy. When Emery first went on OKCupid, he was very vague about what he was looking for, and generated virtually zero reciprocal interest. Then he dropped pretenses and announced "exactly what I wanted - an open relationship - and as soon as I did that, I got a lot of messages."

One woman proved an "awesome" date but alas, the future is not bright. "She said she was slim to average," said Emery. But in person, he said, she was "bigger than what she described."

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The most honest cities:

MEN
1. Houston
2. Phoenix
3. Boston
4. Pittsburgh
5. Chicago

WOMEN
1. Charlotte
2. Houston
3. Minneapolis
4. Seattle
5. Phoenix

The least honest cities, % of liars & their most common lies:

MEN
1. Washington D.C. (Career and Education) 37%
2. San Francisco (Career and Money Earned) 35%
3. New York (Everything) 34%
4. Philadelphia (Height and Money Earned) 33%
5. Miami (Relationship Status and Height) 31%

WOMEN
1. Las Vegas (Age and Career) 39%
2. Washington D.C. (Career and Education) 37%
3. Atlanta (Age and Weight) 36%
4. Los Angeles (Age an Weight) 35%
5. New York (Age and Career) 33%

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