A man calling himself "John" messaged her and through daily phone calls and messages on Facebook, he gained her trust.
At first, Best -- who juggles two part-time jobs working with developmentally-disabled adults and people with mental illness -- resisted, telling John she simply didn't have the money. "He was trying to get me to use my credit cards, borrow from my friends and family," said Best, who earlier told her saga to The Huffington Post.
When he told her days later he couldn't afford to eat, Best gave in, wiring him two $250 payments. soldiers serving abroad, then ask for money to purchase laptops, international phones or a plane ticket home so their fake relationship can continue. Army's Criminal Investigation Command says they receive hundreds of reports every month from people fooled by phony service members.
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.
She searched Web forums, eventually finding another woman's story of a scammer with the same name. Mingle2, the dating site, did not respond to requests for comment. And in recent months, the International Crime Complaint Center has warned of a new dating extortion scam where scammers bait members of online dating sites into intimate conversations, then threaten to expose them if they don't pay up.
Then she received a nearly $1,000 phone bill from calling the phone number he had said wouldn't charge her. number Best reached him at revealed the number was no longer in service and was hosted by Magic Jack, an Internet-based phone service that allows people anywhere in the world to make unlimited calls from a U. Shortly after the conversations, victims are provided links to a website where their names, photos and telephone numbers are posted, along with the option to view the sexual conversations for $9.
CNNMoney's attempts to reach "John" on his international phone number provided by Best revealed that it was based out of Nigeria -- a hotbed for online scams -- and has since been disconnected. Victims are then prompted to pay to have their name removed from the site.The FBI said there is no indication that the information was ever removed.Don't get caught in a scam Some advice from experts at the Better Business Bureau and Internet Crime Complaint Center: Be on guard."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.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.