AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF-TV) — An Aiken County woman was scammed out of nearly $100,000.
58-year-old Barbara Loney says a man developed a friendship with her on Facebook and promised her larges amounts of money, just as long as she sent money to him overseas.
The FBI calls the scam the “Nigerian Letter Scam.”
“I’m very emotional, my anxiety has picked up, my panic attacks have picked up and I’m depressed,” Loney told us.
She says the past year and a half has been a struggle, but to get through each day, she has her horse “Jag.”
However, after recently getting scammed, she might have to sell “Jag.”
“I don’t know what to do. I mean, I have to sell him and I don’t know what’s going to happen to this place because the insurance will be coming up pretty soon,” Loney told us while in tears.
She says it all started last year when a man named William Gray sent her a friend request on Facebook.
The two became friends and sent messages back and forth through FB Messenger.
“I figured, you know, he’s in the military. You know, he wants to talk to somebody. He said he was a general over there, in command in Afghanistan,” she said.
Weeks into their friendship, the man started telling her about an investment that would earn her more than $500,000.
All she had to do was complete some tasks for him.
“Friends of his would send laptops and Apple Watches, and I would send all that stuff over to him over in Nigeria. And then all of a sudden it starts to be money,” Loney said.
Loney says Mr. Gray told her to send him money and that once she sent enough, she would receive a box of money at U.S. Customs.
The box never came, so Loney kept sending money hoping her would finally send it to her.
Over the year and a half, Loney sent $100,000 overseas.
The money came from her savings and eventually her 94-year-old mother.
“She needs to go to the doctor. I need to go to the doctor because I’m on nerve pills and depression. And my depression medicine is not helping. I’ve tried to take my life a couple of times,” she cried.
Loney says it wasn’t until recently that she found out from her bank that the investment scheme was a scam.
She’s now using her story to warn others of this manipulative scam.
“I don’t want anybody to go through this. What we’ve been through,” she said.
Loney says unfortunately, the FBI told her she will never get her money back.
Her story is a good reminder to never send money or give your personal information out to someone you don’t know.