How a few PhD students revealed that phishing trainings might just not work: Lock and Code S03E03

Recovering from romance scams with Cindy Liebes: Lock and Code S03E10

Earlier this year, many members of the public were introduced to the facets of a long-ignored crime in cyberspace: The romance scam. A flashy documentary called The Tinder Swindler had premiered on Netflix, and in it, filmmakers documented the efforts of one man to manipulate several women into giving him tens of thousands of dollars after sometimes convincing them that he was their one true love.

Immediately after the documentary premiered, viewers judged the victims. Some viewers blamed the women in the documentary for falling for what looked, externally, like an obvious scam. Others asked how the women could be swept off their feet with so many red flags present? Others blamed the victims for not doing better research into the man, who had worked tirelessly to build fraudulent websites that claimed he was the son of a billionaire diamond miner.

But according to Cindy Liebes, Chief Cybersecurity Evangelist for Cybercrime Support Network, this public perception misses a lot, particularly in how skilled these scammers can be in their work.

“These people are professional criminals… and I think a lot of times, for those who may say, ‘Well I would never fall for this’—they don’t realize how professional these people are.”

Cindy Liebes, Chief Cybersecurity Evangelist for Cybercrime Support Network

This week on the Lock and Code podcast with host David Ruiz, we speak with Liebes about the facts behind romance scams: How prevalent they are, the types of damage they cause beyond financial ruin, and how you can spot a romance scam as it is happening.

Tune in to hear all this and more on this week’s Lock and Code podcast by Malwarebytes Labs.

You can also find us on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Google Podcasts, plus whatever preferred podcast platform you use.

Show notes and credits:

Intro Music: “Spellbound” by Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License
Outro Music: “God God” by Wowa (