One of Tinder Swindler's most known victims hunts for love on reality TV show

Cecilie Fjellhøy tells BBC she wants to find love again, and hopes to shake off the stigma surrounding her ordeal, having been 'burned' by Israeli fraudster Simon Leviev and appearing on Netflix show

Ynet|
Do you spend your free time binging Netflix? If so, there's a fair chance you'll recognize Cecilie Fjellhøy, who appeared in The Tinder Swindler documentary, having been conned by an Israeli fraudster.
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  • Simon Leviev, born Shimon Hayut, posed as a rich heir of an Israeli diamond magnate in order to entice women, only to scam them out thousands of dollars. Leviev is believed to have defrauded dozens of women, including Fjellhøy, who fell for his cunning charm five years ago.
    2 View gallery
    Cecilie Fjellhøy
    Cecilie Fjellhøy
    Cecilie Fjellhøy
    (Photo: YouTube)
    These days, armed with more experience and far less naivete, 33-year-old Cecilie is looking for real love again, this time with the help of the "Celebs go dating" show - which pairs reality TV alums with regular people.
    "I'm no celeb, nor do I feel like one," she told BBC. "But with my face known around the world, I can use this show to present people a different side of me. One that all of those stories never showed."
    Despite the harrowing experience she went through with Leviev, she looks to the future with a sense of hope. At least, when it comes to the romantic aspect. "Dating is fun, and I'm opening my eyes to new things. My choices haven't been the best up until now."
    According to the BBC, she is also back on Tinder and says she doesn't blame the app for what happened, since unlike Leviev's other victims, Fjellhøy met the fraudster in real life.
    While I mostly receiving sympathetic responses since her appearance on the documentary, she says she has been subjected to sexist comments here and there, blaming her of being a "gold digger" who deserved to be scammed. She claims the comments are mostly from "incels," men who refer to themselves as involuntarily celibate.
    "Trolling always happens - I've learnt not to read it. I think it's important to shine a light on those comments. All of these type of things can be dangerous. It's fun to laugh about it, but it can be dangerous in the long run," she told BBC.
    Mindful of the subject and campaigning for the issue of romance fraud, she says she believes police need specialized training to be able to recognize cases like hers, with the proper sensitivity shown toward victims. She says destigmatizing fraud is essential, and the fact that Leviev is a free man is disheartening.
    2 View gallery
    Simon Leviev
    Simon Leviev
    Simon Leviev, the Tinder Swindler
    (Photo: YouTube)
    "My main thing was never to become a celebrity, it was to get him in jail and keep people protected from people like him," she said.
    In 2019, Leviev was convicted on four counts of fraud and sentenced to 15 months in prison, but only ended up serving five of them. Until this day, he vehemently denies the accusations leveled against him.
    Cecilie met Leviev in a Tel Aviv beach club. "Our eyes crossed. I gave him one little wave and that was it. I'm not afraid of him anymore. He can't hurt me."
    On his end, Leviev says she harassed him, and even reported said harassment to the police.

    If you've been scammed, speak out

    Since her ordeal, many people have been DMing Cecilie, sharing their stories about being caught up in romance fraud.
    "If you're thinking or wondering, reach out to either family, friends, tell them about what you're experiencing," she said. "The thing is that with fraud, you don't realize red flags when they're happening."


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