American, Canadian victims lose $1 billion to romance scams in three years, BBB says
Miracle Hunt says it all started with an Instagram request in 2014, from a man she didn't know.
"Normally if I don't know you, I'm not going to accept you because I didn't know what it would be," Hunt said. "But he was pretty cute, so I accepted him."
She says their online relationship continued for nine months. She wasn't in love, but she was attached.
"That person was just there for me. like I said, I could have conversations with them, and I told that person things that I never even told my friends and family."
Until she started having doubts, and reached out to the MTV show Catfish, which found Miracle was actually talking to a woman.
"I was devastated," Hunt said.
She found out on the show, who the real man in the picture was.
The host of the show, Nev Schulman, was a former victim himself, and says the reason so many people fall for catfishing, is the same reason people play the lottery.
"If on the tiny off chance that they are in fact this prince charming, or this Disney princess, and they're going to meet up one day and live happily ever after, they're willing to stay in," Schulman said.
Nev and Miracle say the signs are usually there: preferring to talk over text instead of video, and moving the relationship fast, but people don't want to see them.
"I'm still trying to figure out how I got caught in the situation, but I'm human. it is what it is."
The Better Business Bureau says online romance scams are under-reported, because people are embarrassed, but it is one of the most costly scams there is, with about $1 billion lost in the U.S. and Canada over the last three years.
Schulman says it's best to talk to friends and family if you're unsure whether you're being catfished.
And you can always reach out to the show to check.