Wow, this is an important international discussion and I appreciate Jeanne and Marcus hosting me. We talked about online dating and online fraud in different ways. From Belfast, Northern Ireland to San Francisco, this is a LIVE and honest conversation. This is a podcast for grownups who are tired of holding back!

Dating for successful people of a certain age can be a drag under any circumstances, but in the age of romance fraud, it can be an absolute nightmare if you’re not careful. 

That’s why this week’s “Dating is Such a Drag” podcast features international romance scam expert Debby Montgomery Johnson, director of The Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams (SCARS).

Co-hosts celebrity dating coach Jeanne Sullivan Billeci, The Soul Mate Coach, and celebrity drag queen/leadership coach Marcus Hunter-Neill, a.k.a. Lady Portia DiMonte—talk with Debby about the leading ways scammers are targeting men and women on dating sites and social media, and how to avoid financial and emotional disaster—or even death.

Johnson, who has consulted with the FBI and written a book, “The Woman Behind The Smile,” shares her personal experience with a “love” that turned into betrayal and financial disaster, and the importance of not shaming the victims, which in turn prevents 97% of them from reporting the crime and inhibits law enforcement’s options in fighting this multi-billion-dollar industry,

“We need to stop minimizing these crimes as ‘scams’ and call it like it is—fraud—so it’s taken more seriously,” said Johnson, who points out that these are highly trained, sophisticated criminals who’ve gotten increasingly bold in carrying out everything from traditional dating scams and bad financial investments to kidnapping, which has even led to death in some cases.

During the episode, the trio discuss their own brushes with potential fraudsters and tips and tricks they discovered to staying safe and being supportive to victims, who are often friends or family who’ve been manipulated and need help. While people of all ages are targeted, the fastest-growing sector is people over 60.

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