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Robin Longmore, a financial intelligence development officer for West Mercia Police said: "Through our investigations we started to believe Vicky was a victim.
This kind of thing is a massive problem in Nigeria and Ghana with groups of men sitting in internet cafes all conning people over their internet dating sites.
Ms Fowkes, a self-employed child care consultant, began sending money to Nigeria in August 2010 after her internet lover failed to visit her at Heathrow after telling her he had booked a flight.
She said: "He was due to come for a visit in August but he wasn't on the flight and then when he rang later that day he said they stopped him at customs to do with tax issues with his business.
"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.
Like many single women, the Midwestern mother of two and caretaker for her ailing father found many possibilities and opportunities when it came to meeting men online. Chat room one evening after working the night shift at her retail job, she met a man only a state away who enchanted her from the moment she first spoke with him.“He was extremely intelligent and came across as very romantic and genuinely interested in me,” Meade said.