Scammers also match. In the Netflix documentary The Tinder Scammer , three women describe how Simon Leviev scammed a dozen women for more than $10 million after meeting them on Tinder, the popular dating app. Today, Leviev is still free and unfortunately he is not the only one who uses the app for profit.
Still, this is a growing problem. that, in 2021, online romance scammers increased by almost 80% compared to 2020 and represented a loss of 547 million dollars for consumers.
These figures are to be considered, because according to data generated by the annual survey of Love in the times of the Telecoms of The Competitive Intelligence Unit (CIU), in 2022 almost seven out of 10 people will have had a relationship with someone they met via Internet.
And while apps are making efforts to improve their security tools, social engineering is one of the most effective techniques for scammers. This implies that cybercriminals take advantage of users’ lack of knowledge and trick them into revealing their personal data themselves.
For this reason, Tinder shared with Expansión some tips to spot a scammer and what to do if you come across one:
How to spot an online scammer?
Simon Leviev was handsome, caring, and even had a real Instagram account. All of these may seem like good signs, but the reality is that red flags should be activated when:
- He asks you very soon to leave the dating app: If after two hours of talking he asks you for your Whatsapp, Instagram, Tik Tok or Facebook, it is not a good idea to share it. These social networks contain a lot of personal information about you that can be lucrative for a scammer.
- If it sounds too good to be true: If in a very short time he starts telling you that you are the most beautiful person in the world, gives you exaggerated displays of attention and affection, starts making plans for the future with you, it’s called “love bombing” and it’s a big red flag. A scammer is going to try to establish a relationship as quickly as possible.
- They avoid meeting in person: There will always be an excuse not to make plans or cancel them at the last minute for strange or serious reasons. Also, if they tend to be a “family medical emergency” or something that “holds” them somewhere and they ask for financial help, run away!
- They ask for personal information: Having a connection with someone should not be a reason to ask for a passport, driver’s license, credit card number or any private information.
- If you have financial problems: It is one thing to see who pays the bill on a date and quite another to ask for financial help to solve “personal problems”.
Tips to protect yourself from scams
The most important thing will always be to trust your instinct. Intuition is the best ally and if something doesn’t seem right to you, you can always block and report dating apps.
On the other hand, here are some other tips:
- Check the photos: Scammers rarely use their own photos, so it’s not being a stalker, it’s being cautious. If the photos are very old, look suspicious, or just don’t add up, block.
- Ask questions: Before you meet someone in person, chat through the app to make sure the facts and stories they tell you are consistent and don’t give vague answers to very specific questions.
- Be careful what you upload to the internet: Uploading a story in the place where you are at that very moment, sharing photos of your school or workplace, the address of your friends or your phone number, can be very risky publications.
- Above all, DO NOT send money online: The police advise never sharing money with someone you meet online, including providing credit card numbers, bank account information, bank transfers, your social security number or any other information identifiable staff.