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Tinder Dating Scams: How to Avoid Tinder Users Already in a Relationship



14 Jul 2015

Tinder’s user database continues to grow exponentially. The company’s dating app accommodates 50 million users in 196 countries with 1.6 billion swipes per day. Users get one million dates per week from a potential 20 billion Tinder matches. Sadly, scammers take advantage of the high volume to catfish potential victims. The scammers steal personal information, bank account information, credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, and if given the opportunity, they steal identities. Mostly, Tinder scammers ask for money. They spin elaborate and often unbelievable stories. Persistence, threats, vague promises and blackmail convince the victim to comply with the demands.

Tinder User Statistics

A Vanity Fair article stirred the pot when it published Tinder statistics from GlobalWebIndex. “Globally, about half of the Tinder audience is single, whereas just over 45% are attached (34% saying they are married and another 11% being in a relationship).

In the UK and US, for example, it’s two-thirds of users who are single. Among married users of Tinder, the global gender split is about 55% men to 45% women.” Additionally, another 1% of users stated “other” as their relationship status.

Tinder turned to Twitter with a flurry of tweets, claiming, “Our actual data says that 1.7% of Tinder users are married – not 30% as the preposterous GlobalWebIndex article indicated.”

The report also stated that approximately 70% of users had visited other dating sites in the previous month.

Tinder Scams

Online dating scams change frequently with con artists trying to stay ahead of the catfishing curve. People looking for romance are getting smarter, so scammers must up their game. Here are the most common romance scams:

Photo Scams

Profiles without photos raise suspicions. Some users claim their jobs prevent them from posting pictures. Others claim to be shy or don’t have photos on their device. This common tactic throws out a red flag. Additionally, profile pictures that appear professional, overly polished, cropped or vaguely familiar should be suspect. Fraudsters often use pictures of celebrities or models to attract attention. Users should make note if additional pictures don’t match the original profile. Check out pictures by taking a screenshot and using a reverse image search engine to see if the photos are on other websites.

Computer Viruses

Identity thieves often use malware, spyware, ransomware, Trojans and other viruses to cause damage to a computer. These viruses attack computers after users click on a link or go to a website suggested by a scammer. The website may look like a personal website, fake Facebook profile, Instagram post, Whatsapp, or other social media platforms. The fake accounts don’t need to be convincing since the sole purpose is to steal personal information which could lead to identity theft and fraudulent activity.

Verification Code Scam

One of the most recent Tinder scams involves identity verification. The fake profile asks the target to verify his identity before moving forward with the conversation. While Tinder verifies identities through their site, the scam uses a third party site. The site requires the user to fill out personal information, including full name, address, phone number, birth date, and credit card number. Instead of verifying the user’s identity, the site sets up subscriptions to various adult websites. The websites rack up high credit card bills and are difficult to cancel. Users may fall for this con especially if the person scamming them offers financial help or a dream lifestyle.

Tinder Bot Profiles

Internet bots mimic people to lure users into conversation. Bots serve many purposes including internet searches. In this case, the bot converses with a user and eventually sends a link to an outside site that ultimately contains viruses or gives the site the ability to steal personal data. Identifying a bot isn’t as easy as it seems. Developers use complex algorithms to mirror a person’s language and syntax. Considering the poor language skills of many users, a bot’s conversation may easily pass muster.

Spotting a bot isn’t always easy but there are some telltale signs:

  • The profile contains little to no personal information.
  • Photos are limited and appear professionally done, similar to stock photos.
  • The person responds to your messages within seconds after they’re received.
  • The person uses “canned” quotes or poems.
  • Questions go unanswered.

Users can also try to trick the bot by posting nonsensical words or phrases. A real person will express confusion, but the bot will answer in kind. If you do interact with a bot, block the profile and report the user to the site.

Blackmail Scams

Fraudsters trick targets into posting private information or compromising photos on the site, through email or on platforms like Whatsapp or Skype. The scammer says it will bring them closer together. In reality, the scam involves using the information or photographs to blackmail the user. Once the images arrive in their mailbox, the scammer demands money or threatens to publish the photos or send them to a spouse or employer.

The victim feels helpless and ashamed. Some companies offer assistance to deal with this type of blackmail. For example, Google honors requests to remove private images.

Venue Promotion Scams

Another common Tinder scam involves hiring people to promote specific venues. The match offers to meet the target at a restaurant or bar. When you arrive, the match is nowhere to be found. You may find others that were tricked into going to the same venue. This scam simply involves getting people to visit certain establishments for which the scammer is paid.

A similar con includes a first date at an upscale venue. The scammer racks up a big bill and leaves the target holding the bag. The best way to avoid this scam is to meet at a coffee shop, somewhere in public, or at an inexpensive venue.

Is Your Match Married?

here are ways to find out if your online date is married or in a relationship. The simplest ways include paying attention to the following signs. Note: These warning signs also apply to scammers. While both men and women catfish on Tinder and other sites, I’ll use “he” as a standard pronoun.

  • The profile is on a free dating app or website.
  • The Tinder profile doesn’t have a picture.
  • The person looks nothing like his Tinder profile picture.
  • The profile lists his marital status as “separated”
  • His online behavior is suspicious. He leaves in the middle of a conversation without explanation.
  • He refuses to give you a phone number.
  • Phone calls follow a pattern – he only calls at certain times of the day or on certain days.
  • He never answers the phone when you call.
  • The relationship moves very fast.
  • He refuses to disclose personal information.

If your Tinder match is married or a scammer, end the relationship immediately to prevent further harm. Report the incident to Tinder directly. If the relationship involves fraud or identity theft, report it to local law enforcement as well as the FBI and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC has an entire site dedicated to helping individuals recover from identity theft.

Protect Your Heart and Stay Safe

Most modern relationships begin on dating apps. While some good things can come from swiping right, fraudsters with fake accounts can turn a potential match into a lasting nightmare. Be aware of online romance scams and protect yourself from the unscrupulous people who will do anything to take your money or identity. Victims often have little recourse if money is sent freely although the FTC and other government agencies may intervene on a victim’s behalf. If a scammer continues to contact you after you’ve tried to cut ties, you can block annoying calls and block unwanted texts via our site or iPhone app.

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