GREENSBORO, N.C. — Social Catfish is an online dating investigation service that helps people figure out if the love interest they met online is real or if it is a scam.
In the case that broke the internet this week, a Kentucky woman divorced her husband because she thought she was talking to Stranger Things actor, Dacre Montgomery online. The Social Catfish crew talked with her at length, went over their online conversations, and discovered like most of their cases, she gave this love interest money.
"Before I knew it, it was $100 and $200 gift cards. When I tallied it up, it was $10,00-ish," said the catfished woman.
While this story is making headlines this week, it's one of many. The Federal Trade Commission said Americans lost $1.3 billion in romance scams in 2022 alone. Scammers create fake social media profiles, using the pictures and details of other men, including American soldiers.
After developing a relationship, there is always some situation, some crisis where the love interest needs money sent to them. And there is always a reason why the two of them can't meet in person.
2WTK talked with the founder of SocialCatfish back in 2021. His advice from then is still good today.
"If someone won't video chat, be insistent on it. Even if you think you're having that online relationship, people who are typically scammed always have that feeling..that inkling that something just isn't right," said David McClellan, Founder, SocialCatfish.
And when people start asking for money, that is a dead giveaway it's a scam, no matter what their "story" is.