Maribel Cardona thought she found the man of her dreams. An engineer working for the federal government - single and charming.
Another woman who asked not to be identified thought she was planning a future with the retired general she met online.
"He's going to buy an apartment to live together," she said.
She told NBC 6 Responds after ending a troubled relationship, she tried a dating app. She spent months building an online relationship with the general. Part of that relationship included sending him money.
"I sent him about $10,000," she said.
After that her so-called general disappeared with her money.
NBC 6 Responds found photos of her "general" had been stolen off the internet and used regularly for cyber scams. When she heard that, she became fully convinced she'd been taken.
Now she's too embarrassed to tell her family.
"It's going to be sad for them and it's sad for me too," she said.
Maribel Cardona's online romance started with a Facebook friend request. But her tale has an ending she never expected.
She says her the man who told her he worked as an engineer for the Department of Defense started asking for money about a month into their relationship.
She became suspicious when he professed his love too fast.
"I told him, 'No, you love me in a few days?' That's not real," she said.
She says she then played along even sending him a fake receipt to make him believe she sent money. Then, she tracked down the real DOD worker in the photo.
Finally, she confronted the impostor.
"You are not the guy in the photo," she says she told him. "Who are you? Who are you really? No more lies."
She believes appealing to his conscience led him to tell her some truth.
He sent her a picture of him and introduced himself as 23-year-old Fasakin living in Nigeria.
"He talked to me and explained all about the scam," she said.
NBC 6 Responds cameras recorded one of their conversations.
"I need money for Christmas," he told her. "Help me."
He then shared a sad story about his life that he had no parents and needed to care for his brother and sister.
It was a sad enough story that she sent him $50.
"I don't know the reason I sent the money but I think he needs it," she said.
"I used it to buy food stuff for me and my family so that we don't die of hunger," he told her.
Cardona knows there's a chance he's lying about his situation but feels that her conscience is clear.
The branches of the military are aware that photos of servicemen are used to perpetrate scams.
"it's a multi-billion dollar business in their countries," Army spokesman Chris Grey said.
But he says there is little the military can do to stop these scams.
"We can't investigate these," he said. "We don't have the jurisdiction to go after these people.
Good advice to avoid scams like this: only wire cash if you know who you are sending it to. If someone tells you they are in the military, they should have an email ending in .mil.
If you're been a victim of a scam like this, you can report it to the FBI by clicking on this link.