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"The story was getting more and more bizarre," she says.

"But I hung on and kept communicating because I wanted to see the end of the movie." The ending came as no surprise to experts on romance scams.

But individuals who frequent them say scams are pervasive. Match.com, for instance, includes a disclaimer at the bottom of every onsite email between members, warning not to send money or provide credit card information to anyone you've met on the site.

"I probably hear from five scammers a night," says Marko Budgyk, a Los Angeles financier who has frequented several online dating sites over the past 10 years.

He found out when he discovered his photos were on a romance scam site warning about the same Nigerian crook who had stolen his photos. If a profile indicates your match has a college degree, but he or she can't string a sentence together, you have reason to be suspicious. Commonly, when the victim proposes an in-person meeting, they'll come up with some excuse for why it can't happen: They're traveling, stationed overseas or have some long-distance emergency. Uncertain of whether she should believe the man, Kipps Googled "photos of sick children." And of course, the photographs she'd been getting via text message were public images posted online.

They'd hit it off right away, and he said he lived just outside of Phoenix, which seemed relatively proximate to a woman in remote Yuma, Ariz."After a while, it becomes really easy to spot them." Here are six red flags to help detect and sidestep romance scams.Let's leave the site: Online dating sites have the ability to monitor and boot members who exhibit problematic behavior or are perpetrating scams, so con artists want to quickly move their victims elsewhere.That's important to the con artist, who'll want to troll the site again for future victims when done with you.Do your fellow legitimate members a favor and be sure to report abusers. Budgyk, 56, doesn't suffer for a lack of confidence, but he also knows something is amiss when a model half his age just can't get enough of him.

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