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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.

The crook will then lavish you with attention and flattery.

The idea is to get you to suspend good sense and become enamored with someone you've known online for just a few weeks and have never met in person. Kipps has decided that another tip-off is photographs that show all the trappings of wealth -- exotic cars, mansions, pictures in romantic foreign settings.

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.

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.