Man scammed by ‘girlfriends’ on Facebook

OKEECHOBEE — A local man has lost a large sum of money to what he thought were ‘girlfriends’ that he had met on the popular social media site Facebook.

The 32-year-old man reportedly told a deputy Thursday he had ‘girlfriends’ who talked to him on Facebook. And what started out as friendly conversations soon turned dark and menacing.

“After I give them my phone number they seem nice, (but) then things changed,” he apparently told Deputy Nathaniel Mitchell of the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO). “I received several messages saying if I don’t send money, my family will be killed.”

So, thinking he was protecting his family, the man gave in and sent them money. He apparently isn’t sure how much.

Deputy Mitchell noted how the man was told to send money in the form of I-tunes cards. Then, after he buys those cards, he was instructed to send the codes on the cards to different phone numbers.

So, he did.

By using I-tunes cards the scammers don’t need to have the card in their possession to collect the money. All they need are the numbers, or codes, on the card.

Those phone numbers used by the scammers were: to Joel at 847-616-8568; to Nichole at 901-203-2183; 747-205-6846; and, 347-345-2544.

“It should be noted that while taking this complaint the victim’s cell phone rang constantly from the numbers listed above. When told law enforcement was now involved, the line would go dead,” pointed out Deputy Mitchell.

According to the deputy’s report he told the victim these people were just stealing from him. The family, he continued, is in the process of changing their phone numbers and creating new Facebook identities.

“My sister and family told me I should not send any money to these people,” the man reportedly told Deputy Mitchell. “I guess they were right. I needed to hear it from someone else (police).”

Eric Kopp is a staff writer for the Okeechobee News

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