Talk about looking for love in all the wrong places! But does that include Tinder, and is Tinder still safe for online dating?
Dating scams have increased by a whopping 80% from 2020 to 2021, according to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Keeping in mind that many people who have been scammed by a romance con-artist will be too ashamed to report it, the figure could be even higher. And the losses aren’t small change either. During 2019, the average person lost over $2,600 to a scammer on dating sites such as Tinder.
Tinder Swindler: Why So Many Scammers on Tinder?
The Netflix documentary—The Tinder Swindler—horrified millions of single women looking for their dream partner on Tinder. What this documentary drove home is the fact that when you’re “looking” for love, you will miss seeing what is there.
The evidence is in the profile photos and information shared on the scam artist’s profile. If you expect that a man holding a cat or cuddling with a dog is going to be a nice person, you are not looking at the information you receive about that person logically. You see what you want to see.
The desperation of those looking for love is exactly what draws scammers like the Tinder Swindler to Tinder and other dating apps. It’s literally like shooting fish in a barrel. By dangling a line, hundreds of women all flock to catch a chance at a “perfect” partner.
By using the match algorithm, a clever con artist can manipulate the Tinder system to find their ideal target (not partner) by uploading a dating profile that will match with desperate single ladies and gents too.
Essentially, this means Tinder’s match-up functionality helps clever scammers find new targets; plus, the scammer has access to a lot of personal information in the victim’s profile. With this information, the scammer can create a web of lies that are aimed at conning money out of Tinder users.
What Are Examples of Scams on Tinder?
There are many different scams on Tinder, from getting your number and using it to create fake profiles that they then trick other Tinder users with to creating a catfish scam where the scammer tricks users out of money by asking for money from their mark.
A few examples of Tinder scams are:
Scammers pretend to be a Tinder bot, then it asks you to click on links where the scammer gains access to the victim’s number.
With your number, a scammer can trick other Tinder users, create fake accounts and run up debt (if they manage to get access to more personal information too), clone your email accounts, and even get access to your bank accounts.
A scammer may play on your sympathies, and once you are in love with them, they may ask for money to pay medical bills or to pay taxes to supposedly keep them out of prison. Once you’ve paid the money to them, they will either keep asking for more, or they will vanish.
Some scammers are able to reverse-track the banking transaction and gain access to your banking information to either drain your account, add a false debit order, or even open other accounts in your name.
Another popular scam is when the scammer gains your trust, then they offer you free investment advice in cryptocurrency. Initially, they may even pay you dividends on a small test amount, but once you’ve invested a sizable amount, they suddenly vanish, and the crypto currency you purchased turns out to be fake.
In 2021, $139 million was lost to cryptocurrency scams, with the average person losing around $10,000 to scammers per year. The FTC reports that cryptocurrency scams are very hard to track, so chances of recovering your lost investment are slim.
How Does a Tinder Scam Exactly Work?
Regardless of the type of Tinder scam, they all follow the same format. The scammer will target you through the match feature, creating their profile in such a way that they match up to young, single women who are desperate for romance and love.
Scammers will woo you, gaining your trust. Once they have established a connection, they will begin to ask for small favors like borrowing $500, which they may also repay to further gain your trust. Before long, you are ready for picking.
The scam kicks in and you lose thousands of dollars, your personal information is stolen, and you may also end up in trouble with debt made in your name without you even knowing about it.
Our 4 Tips for Dating Safely on Tinder
Dating safety is of the utmost importance on any dating app, including Tinder. Here are a few tips to help keep you (and your heart) safe.
Keep to Facts
If you match up with someone on Tinder, check their information carefully, especially in international dating. Scrutinize their profile (including their pictures) as if you are dealing with a scammer. Assume the worst, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised when they are legit daters like you.
When you evaluate the information on their profile, check whether it feels too good to be true, such as a guy who works in IT that poses with a brand new Porsche (not gonna happen, right?).
Silence Your Heart
Our heart often tells us things that are based on illogical assumptions. When you see a photo of a guy who has a fluffy dog cuddling with him, it doesn’t mean it’s real or that he’s a good guy. After all, even serial killers have been known to keep pets.
The photos you see may not even be of the actual scammer. He may have copied the photos from another Tinder user’s profile. Doing a reverse Google search with the photos can help you track the original source of the photos.
If photos are overly photoshopped, you know you are also dealing with someone who is hiding something. If he’s the ultimate “tall-dark-and-handsome-with-a-fortune” type of guy, chances are you’re being drawn into a scam.
Take it Slow
Most scammers are running multiple scams, so they won’t want to invest in the long con. Don’t rush to commit to anything, and don’t send money or gifts. Instead, keep control of the online relationship, keeping it to chats while you learn from the person you’re chatting with.
In time, you may begin to pick up on inconsistencies. Scammers have multiple scams running simultaneously, so they may slip up and get confused about information they have shared with you.
Pet names that change, places of birth that change, and information about their lives may suddenly shift, indicating you are dealing with a scammer.
Most scammers won’t want to chat in person, so video calls will make them squirm. Ask your online partner to join you for a live chat, watching their reactions and facial expressions if they do chat with you via video call.
Most likely, the scammer will find reasons not to meet up, while pushing you for some financial gain until they feel outed and then vanish from your life.
Tinder Scam FAQs - We answer your questions about Tinder scam
Tinder texts that seem to be from a chatbot or a Tinder user that incorrectly forwarded a message to you may hide a scammer fishing for information. Texts that ask you to click on links are frequently scammers prowling Tinder for prey.
If the person you are chatting with begins to ask for money or favors or daily photos, chances are they are scammers. Inconsistent information and stories are clear signs you are being soaped up for a scam. Report hinky profiles and listen to your gut.
With your number, a Tinder scammer can access your device and online information about you, and they can trick other Tinder users. Scammers can also add your number to a database to sell to other scammers. Your number can be used in many other scams, not just on Tinder.
Tinder bots are there to run the advertising side of Tinder’s revenue stream. However, some Tinder bots merely try to send spam to your phone, and not all Tinder bots are legitimate—some may be scammers masquerading as bots.
One is legit, the other isn’t. Scammers are criminals who try to get your information so they can steal your money without your consent. Spammers are companies operating on Tinder, ready to earn money by getting your information and adding you to marketing lists you never wanted to sign up for.
Final Thoughts on Tinder Dating Scams
Dating apps like Tinder are a great way to meet other singles and potentially find your one true love.
However, the chances of you running into a scammer are equally good, so you need to take care you are not being chatted up by scammers whose ultimate goal is to dive into your heart and then strip away your wallet.
Keep safe by not disclosing personal information, never investing in crypto with someone you met online, and never paying money out of your bank account to the scammer.