A Malawian woman Priscilla Cynthia Mhango says that dating a Nigerian man she met online is the best decision she has ever made, and chided critics who say that Nigerian men seeking to find love through date sites and other online platforms are scammers.
“I lied to everyone that we met before, otherwise everyone thought I was gone. Nigerian population is over 200 million. Not everyone can be a scammer,” Mhango said in a tweet.
Catfishing, also known as dating scams or romance scams, is a deceptive activity where a person creates a fictional persona or fake identity on a social networking service, usually targeting a specific victim for financial gain, to compromise the victim in some way or for other fulfillments.
The FBI said between January 1st – July 31st 2021, it received more than 1,800 complaints about romance scams where victims were coerced into sending money digitally or trading cryptocurrency for other persons, resulting in losses totaling about $133 million.
“Scammers may propose marriage and make plans to meet in person, but that will never happen. Eventually, they will ask for money,” the FBI stated in an advisory.
– Advertisement –
However, Mhango has been friends with her partner for the past three years after he sent her a direct message on social media and began dating about a year ago. Since then, both have visited each other and found a hobby in learning about new cultures.
She encourages other women to keep an open mind when it comes to finding love, as it transcends colour, location or language.
An analysis by TechShielder on 20 countries published last year ranked Nigeria as the second country after the Philippines, where one is most likely to fall victim to a romance scam, with over 1, 000 reported cases leading to a staggering $16.4 million financial loss in the year 2020.
Fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic, catfishing has been on the rise in recent years in an operation model that functions similar to a multi-level marketing or pyramid scheme. Mentors recruit workers who master the art of storytelling and then try to take advantage of unsuspecting victims.
According to Social Catfish marketing manager Johnny Santiago, when successful, the mentor can get up to 10 percent of whatever their recruit manages to siphon off the victim.