Then, after about a week of heavy correspondence, Firefly’s boyfriend announced his son’s birthday was coming up, and suggested she send him a gift. It was pretty gratifying, she says; the son was ecstatic.
But soon after, she learned that the son had had an accident at school and needed help paying hospital bills — urgently.
A man calling himself "John" messaged her and through daily phone calls and messages on Facebook, he gained her trust.
He spoke with what she thought was a British accent and his picture on Facebook portrayed a nice-looking man with graying hair and a beard.
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.
(I know; red flag.) “He even called me, calling me ‘Mom’ a few times,” she says.
Be especially cautious with people you only know through online messages and phone calls. Many scammers use fake photos to lure their victims but video messaging is much harder to fake.
According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, online romance scams account for higher financial losses than any other internet-based crime.
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.