The victims in the Netflix true crime documentary “The Tinder Swindler” received overwhelming support after the film aired. So, they decided to create a GoFundMe page.

Shimon Heyada Hayut, who uses the name Simon Leviev, defrauded Cecilie Fjellhøy, Pernilla Sjoholm and Ayleen Charlotte out of £185k, £103k and £25,000, respectively, as I previously wrote for Deseret News.

These women have yet to pay off their debt, a total of £600,000, and they’ve started a fundraiser.

  • “You’re probably here because you’ve heard about our story, and we appreciate you taking the time to search and find this page,” the description on their GoFundMe page reads.
  • “The past few days have been a whirlwind, and we three (Ayleen, Pernilla and Cecilie) have been completely shocked and floored by the flood of compassion and support from everyone. The sheer love is more than we ever expected, and we appreciate you all so much.”

So far, they’ve received 880 donations totaling more than £20,000.

Has Simon Leviev spoken out since the documentary’s release?

On Monday, Leviev took to his Instagram Story to post another update.

  • “If I was a fraud why would I act on Netflix,” he said. “I mean they should have arrested me when we were still shooting. It’s high time the ladies start saying the truth.”
  • “If you can’t give them world they want they’ll turn yours to hell. I will be addressing the whole world on Friday,” he said. “Stay tuned and tag others.”
  • Then, he proceeds to call on his fans and millions of viewers to “say my name #simontruth.”

Previously, Leviev had posted a statement on his Instagram story, per The Tab:

  • “Thank you for all your support. I will share my side of the story in the next few days when I have sorted out the best and most respectful way to tell it, both to the involved parties and myself. Until then, please keep an open mind and heart.”

The world of romantic scams

The documentary stated that Leviev stole around $10 million from victims around the world. But the problem of romantic frauds also referred to as “honey traps,” similar to this one are much more widespread. The scam often includes a romantic interest who is used to obtain important information and use that as a means of extorting money.

“These attacks usually target people who are psychologically weaker or going through a more emotionally difficult period in their lives, and can therefore result in the embezzlement of extremely large sums of money at a time,” says Alexander Valentij, chief information security officer at Surfshark, a privacy protection toolset to secure online presence.

In 2020 alone, emotional frauds cost people over $600 million, according to a study on romance and confidence frauds. The pandemic has also increased the number of daily scams by a quarter, with an average of 65 victims every day, per the study.

Valentij said people should be vigilant about their digital security when buying presents or signing up for dating apps, especially with Valentine’s Day fast approaching,