Underage dating service

"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.

The age of consent is the same regardless of the gender or sexual orientation of a person and whether the sexual activity is between people of the same or different gender.

It is an offence for anyone to have any sexual activity with a person under the age of 16.

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When the victim gets wise, the con artist gets scarce. But the increasing popularity of online dating gives them the perfect conditions to proliferate.

By then, Morrison knew she was dealing with a scammer.

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

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.

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