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" Moving off-site before launching a scam reduces the chance that you'll report the crook to the relevant site.
That's important to the con artist, who'll want to troll the site again for future victims when done with you.
"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.
The crook will then lavish you with attention and flattery.
Budgyk knows this from experience: A Nigerian scammer lifted photos from Budgyk's profile. Their photographs are also likely of someone else, and that would be tough to explain in person. He sent heart-wrenching photos of a young girl, who appeared to be his daughter's age, hooked to a raft of medical monitors.
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.
"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.
"After a while, it becomes really easy to spot them." Here are six red flags to help detect and sidestep romance scams.