Published: Sep 25, 2010 3:37 AM EDT
Updated: Sep 25, 2010 12:27 AM EDT

LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. - For Liz Elif, a two week trip to Europe was the fulfillment of a life long dream as well as years worth of savings. A dream that nearly turned into a nightmare.

Liz was still in Berlin when family and friends began calling wondering how she was doing after receiving a frantic e-mail from her. The message claimed Liz had been robbed while overseas and needed money fast.

The e-mail turned out to be fake. It was the work of a scammer who managed to hack into Liz's personal computer in Lehigh from London. Liz's family and friend knew she was overseas and did not think twice about helping her. One close friend who lives in Houston wired $1,000 only to learn he'd been duped.

Internet experts we spoke to say the scammers were able to look up Liz's e-mails including her itinerary and the hotels she stayed at and once they had information they used her contacts to set up the scheme.