(WHTM) — A new romance scam is on the rise. It unfolds over months, luring victims in before scamming them with fraudulent investments.

Shreya Datta thought she’d met the man of her dreams on a dating app, only to find out her prince charming was a scam.

She was out more then $450,000 dollars.
“This person presented themselves to be everything I was looking for. This is a very sophisticated scam. The script is unbelievably powerful,” Datta said.

Datta received flowers and messages from what she was a handsome French wine trader. But he wasn’t real.

Datta soon discovered she was the victim of a scam known as “pig butchering.”

In the scam, the scammer pretends to be looking for love online. They find a love interest and then casually encourage them to invest in crypto using a fake app.

In the beginning it looks real, they are making money, they can even take some out. But eventually they can’t access the money at all. The money is gone and the investment is not real.

Datta said the app the scammer had her use looked real.

“The interface looked super real. There was a customer service that worked. It was unbelievable that this was a fake app,” she said.

In 2022, victims like Datta reported losses totaling 3.31 billion dollars to fake investment schemes. That’s the most money stolen in any type of scam last year, according to a recent Department of Justice report.

Cyber safety experts say to add security to your electronics and report any suspected scams to local or federal authorities.

“You can go out to the FTC, Federal Trade Commission, and they actually have a website where you actually can report this. But also reach out to the FBI. There’s great tools out there like Norton 360 to put on your cell phone. They’ll look at reputable sites. It’ll tell you immediately that the URL is not safe. It’ll tell you that. Quickly. So don’t let don’t click on it. If the application is bad, it will tell you that it’s a bad app or it will block it,” John Ayers, Vice President of Offensive security at Cyderes said.

As for Datta, she lost her entire life savings. She eventually has to move to a cheaper apartment and sell her car as she now tries to recover.

She says she hopes by sharing her story, she can prevent this from happening to others.