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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.
It used to be parents who worried about their children being picked up by unsavory types in bars and other seedy hang-outs.
Now children are worried about their parents being hoodwinked by the scam artists who haunt online dating sites."I am a bit past age 50 --- well educated lady; (I thought that I was so smart that it couldn't happen to me --- my college education is no match for a professional criminal)," said one of a seemingly endless stream of scam victims who hav...
"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.
And many of the scammers aren't even in the United States.
"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.
Aileen was promised support from Searchmate’s highly experienced team of matchmakers, and a guaranteed minimum of 15 recommendations.
Online dating scams: new tricks that fleece victims of an average '£9,589' But in November last year, Aileen felt a growing sense of disappointment as five months had passed and she had yet to meet any men.