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In July, "John" told her that he was traveling to the United Kingdom to buy antiques for his store.
Then one day he called saying he went to Nigeria to buy more, but he was stuck -- he asked her for ,000 cash to get his purchases back to the States.
The victims reported collective losses of .4 million, which is likely only a fraction of the actual losses since many victims are too embarrassed to file a report, the FBI said.
And many of the scammers aren't even in the United States.But as he continued to push for money, Best realized something was off. but who says they're stuck outside of the country and in need of money is a popular ploy among scammers. Some even claim they need money for medical expenses from combat injuries. "We cannot stress enough that people need to stop sending money to persons they meet on the Internet and claim to be in the U. military," Chris Grey, the Army CID's spokesman said in a statement."I left my heart out there, and this guy took advantage of it," the 51-year old Best said.In 2011, the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center received 5,600 complaints from victims of so-called "romance scammers" -- criminals who scan online dating sites, chat rooms and social networking sites for potential victims.
"In the process of going back and forth, a scammer is going to try to figure out what makes a person tick, what their vulnerable spots are," said Jenny Shearer, an FBI spokeswoman."Because a victim has legitimate feelings, they might be inclined to offer financial support for this person." For Best, it all started when she signed up for a free online dating site called mingle2.