by: Scott Wickersham Updated:
A Clover woman says she was scammed out of $8,500 by a man pretending to be a soldier in Afghanistan.
Rita Collins has a soft spot for military men.
Many in her family have served.
So when she met a man named David Longo on a dating website, she was intrigued by his supposed military service.
"He said he was a captain in the U.S. Army serving in Afghanistan," said Collins.
He sent her
pictures and videos, and they chatted through Yahoo Messenger.
He mailed his military
ID... this picture with her name on it.
After months, she was convinced he wanted to marry her and help her, an enticing offer to a widow with two
children who is out of work.
"He wanted me to pay my home off and buy a home for us," said Collins.
But first she needed to wire $8,500 for taxes and fees to Malaysia.
"It hit me after he asked for another $2,500, I've been scammed," said Collins.
Sadly, Collins appears to have fallen victim to a growing online
plot that some call military romance scams.
We found a website where people post real pictures they say the criminals are using to trick women.
One specifically pointed to a photo, which Rita thought was
of "David Longo," as a picture that has been used in repeated scams.
Tom Bartholomy with the
Better Business Bureau sees it all too often.
It happens, he says, because it works.
"We haven't seen a single successful prosecution of
these -- even when it's a friendly country like Canada." said Bartholomy.
The only way to stop it is to warn people
"don't wire money to strangers."
Clover police told Rita this is out of their jurisdiction.
The FBI has a website to report these cybercrimes.