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.
Real Name: Michael Scott Martin Case: Final Appeal Date: July 14, 1979 Location: Garland, Texas Details: At 7 pm on July 14, 1979, an unidentified man entered a Garland, Texas gas station office and drew a gun on "Doyle" the gas station attendant.
The gunman stole 0 and fled from the scene in Doyle's car.
Fifteen minutes later, at pm, a police unit spotted the stolen car outside of an apartment building; Michael had lived in this building until a month earlier.
However, the case against Michael Martin was based entirely on eyewitness testimony.
There was no physical evidence to tie him to the crime: no fingerprints were found, the money was not located, and the gun has never been recovered.
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.
"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.
About 70% of the victims were female; more than half were women 40 years or older.