What ‘Catfish’ Star Nev Schulman Is Doing to Protect You from Scams

Nev Schulman, star of Catfish, spoke to Showbiz Cheat Sheet about his partnership with Zelle for National Consumer Protection Week. He also spoke about his efforts to help consumers reduce their chances of becoming the victim of a scam. Here’s what Schulman told us about his partnership.

Why Nev Schulman partnered with Zelle for National Consumer Protection Week

Nev Schulman attends the premiere of HBO's documentary film "Mapplethorpe: Look At The Pictures" on March 15, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.
Nev Schulman | Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

Schulman says he wanted to partner with Zelle because he desired to help people reduce their chances of becoming scam victims. He often received requests for help from people he knew, but he says he was limited in how much he could assist them. His expertise is more in line with romance scams, but he started receiving requests for help with financial scams.

“I’ve been now making Catfish for 10 years, and as a result of being one of the prominent figures in the online romance-deception-scam space, I get a lot of people who also come to me looking for assistance or help with other types of scams,” says Schulman. “People who have been or know someone actually scammed out of money, or being harassed, or any number of things, and hoping that I might be able to help them.”

Schulman says he wasn’t able to help with these types of scams, so he was happy when he was approached by Zelle. He wanted to do something to help people reduce their chances of being scammed or find ways to manage the situation after becoming a victim.

Nev Schulman says preparation is key

Nev Schulman holds a microphone while speaking on AOL's BUILD Series.
Catfish host Nev Schulman | Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage

“There’s very little you can do after something has happened to you, like fraud or scam, so pretty much all you can do is take preventative measures,” says Schulman. He says he had been wondering how he could help people, so when Zelle reached out, it was a “perfect kismet moment.”

Schulman says this partnership will get people to talk more about scams and raise awareness. “This is exactly what I want to do,” he says. “We’ve been doing this and it’s going really well. And I think it’s doing its job. It’s getting people to talk about this, raising awareness, giving people permission to come forward and say, ‘Yeah, this has happened to me, it’s a real thing, you’ve gotta watch out,’ and people can share their stories and experiences.”

Schulman says the Zelle partnership is helpful not only for consumers but also for himself. He says there’s a lot he needs to learn about consumer scams.

“Not just for the educational purposes of others, but for myself, too,” says Schulman. “I’m just as vulnerable as anyone to potential bank or utility scams, and I didn’t know that much about them. I’m just lucky I haven’t had one happen to me. There’s a lot to know and a lot to look out for, so it’s educational for me, and hopefully others.”

Red flags to watch out for when it comes to scams

Schulman says there are red flags you should watch out for that might indicate you’re being scammed. He says one of the biggest red flags is urgency. If someone is pressuring you to do something right away, for example, make a bank transfer, you should have your guard up.

“It could be right away, or it could be after a period of time where they feel as though they’ve gained your trust,” says Schulman. “It could be any kind of situation where they need help financially. Any time someone is trying to pressure you to hand over money quickly, it can really be a red flag and a sign of a potential scam.”

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