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The only way to avoid an online romance scam is to be aware of their occurrences and also to know how to spot them before they begin.
Sh'reen Morrison had been on an online dating site for only a few weeks before she realized that something was seriously wrong with the man who had been actively pursuing her by text message and email.
"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.
When Morrison suggested that her suitor put his daughter on a plane to get better medical attention at home -- and even offered to pick the girl up at the airport -- a new crisis struck.
By then, Morrison knew she was dealing with a scammer.
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. First, he was traveling through India with his daughter.
Then the daughter became ill and had to be hospitalized.
Though the amounts and details of the scam vary from victim to victim, when it comes to romance scams, the con is almost always the same: The crook wants to get a besotted victim to wire money or provide access to a credit card.
If the victim doesn't figure out the con after the first request for cash, the crook will keep milking the relationship for as much as he or she can get.
Noticing What Isn't Right Engaging in Conversation Meeting the Person Community Q&A For most of us, finding love on the internet can be a gift from heaven.
For others, however, it can be a life-ruining decision – leaving us penniless, heartbroken and with many more problems heading our way.