You’ve heard of catfishing and ghosting, but apparently, a new online dating scheme is making finding a partner on the apps more difficult: romance scams. In a romance scam, a person will target someone looking for love before pressuring them for money.
A great example is The Tinder Swindler, a Netflix documentary about Simon Leviev, a conman who emotionally manipulated women to give him more than $10 million combined. But this isn't a one-off situation: According to the FBI, roughly 24,000 people lost about one billion combined in 2021 to romance scams (an 80 percent increase since 2020, FYI). It seems that these scammers have no problem burning a hole in your pocket and your heart.
But that doesn't mean folks looking to make a genuine connection with someone should give up on online dating. We reached out to an expert that knows a thing or two about love frauds: Nev Schulman. The host and executive producer of Catfish has partnered with Zelle to help people spot a romance scammer from a mile away. Here are six signs, according to Schulman, that you're dealing with a romance scammer—and what you should do if you encounter one.