(COLORADO SPRINGS) — If you’re looking for love, you’ve probably swiped right… or left. You’ve probably said “yes” to someone that was a no, and no as in “not actually that person.”
‘Catfishing‘ as it’s known, can be big money for romance scammers. David McClellan is the founder of Social Catfish, a site dedicated to making sure you aren’t duped.
“With romance scams, catfishing, it’s manipulation for months or even years. The average romance scam lasts for six months,” McClellan said.
Sometimes it’s shorter, a few weeks, although McClellan said his company has seen the scams last for 10-plus years.
“Imagine waking up… and looking forward to this text message or call from this scammer. And going to bed looking forward to a text message or a call from a scammer. That’s literally what happens. And when people are like ‘I don’t understand how people can lose this money,’ they are manipulated over a period of time.”
McClellan said the average victim can lose anywhere from $10,000 to $24,000. “It’s easy money, almost a billion dollars is lost every year because of this.”
McClellan said there are signs to watch out for including; if your “lover” refuses to video chat, consider that, a major red flag. And, are they asking for money? Think of wire transfers, crypto, and gift cards; those are also red flags.
To fight ‘catfishing,’ do your research. “Do your due diligence. Look up who they are. Everyone has googled someone online… like everybody,” said McClellan.