Modern Love Podcast: Trapped in a Romance Scam

Michael McAllister’s inbox began to fill up with heartbroken women’s messages last spring. One wrote, “I thought you were the man,” in response. Uncomfortable as it may sound, “you” became my obsession for some reason.

On dating apps from Germany to Brazil to Chicago, Michael discovered that his photos were being used by women who were scamming him. Did he do anything? Using WhatsApp, he confronted the impostor.

An ongoing global dating scam is the subject of today’s story, which also examines the pandemic-fueled loneliness of the digital age. Additionally, we hear from two victims of Michael’s impostor, both of whom reveal how they fell victim to the fraud.

There is a method that one of them employs to ascertain whether or not a potential love interest is sincere.

The Global Scam is Hidden in Selfies and Screenshots.

Hosted by: Daniel Jones and Miya Lee

Produced by: Julia Botero, Anna Martin and Hans Buetow
Edited by: Wendy Dorr and Daniel Guillemette
Executive Producer: Wendy Dorr
Music by: Dan Powell
Mixed by: Corey Schreppel
Narrated by: Eric Martin
Special thanks: Julia Simon, Mahima Chablani, Bonnie Wertheim, Anya Strzemien, Joanna Nikas, Choire Sicha, Lisa Tobin, Sam Dolnick and Ryan Wegner at Audm. The guests featured at the end of the episode were Robin Lipka and Michelle Merkes.

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Take a look back at the previous articles. Sign up for the newsletter and watch the TV series. Swag and two books, Modern Love: True Stories of Love, Loss, and Redemption and Tiny Love Stories: True Stories of Love in 100 Words or Less, are also available at the New York Times Store.