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TINDER SWINDLER: When women fight back

Pernilla Sjoholm and Cecilie Fjellhoy were both victims of the Tinder Swindler. Credit: Pernilla Sjoholm Instagram
  • The docu-drama highlights the plight of three women who were scammed by a conman posing as a billionaire
  • More than 60 percent of victims of romance scams are women, according to the British police reporting center Action Fraud

Four years after being scammed by a conman, and three months after Netflix made the ‘most-watched documentary’ out of their experience, Pernilla Sjöholm and Cecilie Fjellhøy will speak of their refusal to fade away in silence, in Dubai.

“I’m so excited to take part of TOP CEO Conference in Dubai”, says Cecilie Fjellhøy. The two will share their experience in an uplifting session titled “When Women Fight Back” at the TOP CEO Conference and Awards.

The two have become a global source of inspiration in the fight against emotional fraud. The Netflix docu-drama “Tinder Swindler,” which has topped the global most-watched list, reveals the almost unbelievable story of the women victims who were duped using the popular dating app “Tinder.”

The story has grabbed the attention of the world, but the stories of the women who came forward as victims of The Tinder Swindler don’t stop there. They’ve had their dating and financial lives completely changed, but they’re determined to make a change for other victims in similar situations.

The docu-drama highlights the plight of three women who were scammed by a conman posing as a billionaire. Unsuspecting women fell for the charms of the young billionaire’s real name “Shimon Hayut” not realizing that he was taking money from one woman and spending it on the other – a combination of an emotional and financial fraud delivered through a Ponzi scheme.

“When I was swindled in 2018, I was broken after I realized what happened to me. I had no idea that in the end, I’d be taking part in the Netflix documentary “The Tinder Swindler,” which is the most real documentary of all time”.

“My story is unique, but the fight we had to survive afterwards was not. Being distrusted by police, financial authorities, and the public can be a difficult pill to swallow after having problems for the rest of your life, but we are strong women who decided that we don’t want to be victims and that we were going to achieve justice in some manner”, she added.

“We are excited to discuss our experience and how fraud has to be more acceptable and combated through changing people’s perceptions”.

“I’ve been severely defeated and have suffered financial and emotional trauma, but I’ve refused to give up,” Pernilla says, adding that Cecilie and herself joined forces with a purpose for justice and a goal to recover their lives.

“I hope our story positively influences your life,” she added.

More than 60 percent of victims of romance scams are women, according to the British police reporting center Action Fraud. In March 2022, an American woman lost more than one million UAE dirhams (US$390,000) in an online dating scam. However, many people still use these dating apps.

The transformational role of women

This year’s Arab Women Forum has also other inspirational sessions such as Storytellers from the War Front. These sessions are slated to inspire Arab women to break the glass ceiling and reach new heights.

From keynotes and discussions to debates, Arab Women Forum’s 2022 objective is to analyze the transformational role of women in business, society, and politics to assess its impact on the future of the Arab world.

Despite huge strides in women empowerment, there a biased perception in the world regarding Arab women. Panel discussion Arab Women’s Image will examine the challenges of rightly portraying growth of women. With stereotypes and shortcomings, Western and Asian media seldom report about women ministers or women heading financial institutions or women entrepreneurs in the region. The session would investigate strategies to break the stereotypes.

With STEM being the future of the job market, Women in Tech session would highlight Arab women’s achievements in the fields of science and technology. Regional and international experts would discuss the best ways to promote inclusion as major tech projects taking place in the region recruit a limited number of women.

Analysts will also delve into education and cultural aspects of women pursuing careers in technological fields.

Some of the other key sessions are:A new beginning: Work 2.0; The workplace of tomorrow; Saudi Women Pioneers: Change from Within, among others.

Launched in Saudi Arabia in 2018, Arab Women Forum is a platform to enhance and support the ever-growing contribution of Arab women in the region’s economy and society. Held in parallel with the iconic TOP CEO Conference, the AWF is a high-profile gathering of women executives, decision-makers, and business leaders.

The event celebrating the GCC business leadership and Arab women will be held on May 17 and 18, 2022, at Palazzo Versace, Dubai, UAE.

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