- He Used A Scammer's "Look-a-like" Email Trick
- Spelling Mistakes on His Fake Check
- Missing Information from Fake Wire Transfers
- Exaggerated Proof of Spending/Luxury
- Fake Information Online
- Using Other People to Commit Crimes
- Frequently Asked Questions
The tale of the Tinder Swindler (Netflix) is a must-watch and provides a chilling reminder that everything is never as it seems. Amazingly, the man himself still has a TikTok and YouTube account) and is out of jail after serving just 5 months. We'll show you exactly where the Tinder Swindler red flags were hidden throughout the documentary.
The following breakdown will show you where the Tinder Swindler's mistakes were and help you avoid similar betrayals. It's important to remember that everything can be checked and verified.
To keep the style of the documentary, we'll continue to refer to Simon as Simon Leviev (even though this was a fake name, and it is revealed that his name is Shimon Hayut). We won't retell the story here (the documentary does a great job of that), but we will point out the things that the its makers did not mention and how these details can help you spot fraudsters.
He Used A Scammer's "Look-a-like" Email Trick
A glaring red flag of a scam can be seen when Simon offered to fly Pernilla to Amsterdam and asked for her passport to buy her a ticket (another red flag).
In the documentary, Pernilla says she researched Leviev Diamonds, the company Simon claimed his father, a billionaire, owned. She saw the website of www.llddiamonds.com (which is real) and believed Simon's story.
The red flag appeared when Simon booked a flight for Pernilla and forwarded the confirmation to her. The email booking confirmation shows it was not sent to an @LLDdiamonds.com email. Instead, it was sent to a lookalike email address with a .co email.
The actual company domain is LLDdiamonds.com.
The confirmation email was sent to [email protected] (see screenshot below).
The .co domain is an entirely different domain and shows he was not employed by LLDdiamonds.com (Leviev Diamonds) as he did not have a legitimate email with the company. This is a classic look-a-like scam.
Lesson #1 - Always Check Email Domains
Always check the email domain—copy and paste the URL into the browser.
LLDdiamonds.co does not exist. And according to TheWaybackMachine, it never existed.
It is common for businesses to forget to register all the variations of their company domain names (.co, .biz, etc.), and scammers often register look-a-like domains to impersonate companies. LLDdiamonds.co was available, and Simon took it.
Also, when looking at this ticket, it's apparent that he does not like to spend money that he does not have to. After pretending he had a private jet/first-class lifestyle, the ticket shows he flew Pernilla to see him in Amsterdam with the cheapest possible ticket.
The SAS Go Light class is the cheapest economy ticket available (only allows for a bag under your seat and no use of overhead baggage compartment), and he did not pay for a single checked bag.
Spelling Mistakes on His Fake Check
In their meeting in Amsterdam, Simon presented Cecilie with a check to pay her back for the massive amount of money he had spent on her card.
The check presented to her is an easy-to-spot fake and an immediate red flag.
Lesson #2 - Look for Spelling Errors
Fake checks can be easy to spot once you know what to look for. For example, the check Simon gave Cecilie had some pretty obvious ones:
- The company name shown on the check is "LLD Diamond's, LLC," which is incorrect. The correct spelling shouldn't have an apostrophe (') after the word diamond. "LLD Diamond's, LLC" is a misspelling—the correct spelling is "LLD Diamonds, LLC."
- There is a clear misspelling for "DOLLORS" and not "DOLLARS." An error like this is not something you would not find on a real check from Chase.
These were two very sloppy mistakes in forgery and may have helped Cecilie figure things out.
Missing Information from Fake Wire Transfers
Cecilie should have recognized this obvious red flag when the wire transfer from Simon didn't land in her account. Once a transfer has commenced, it lands within days and it should be massively concerning to the sender if it has not arrived so a relaxed attitude of 'it must be an issue at your bank' from the sender is a red flag. The sender should be very worried that their money has been lost in transit - it is not the recipient's problem.
The receipt also should have had a SWIFT and IBAN code/number since it was an international transfer, but it did not—another red flag. International transfers can't be done with the standard domestic wire format.
The same can be seen in another fake transfer obtained by VG in the original article on which the documentary is based. Simon did know how to fake international transfers as international wire transfers will always show IBAN/SWIFT details, and his did not.
Wire Transfer Receipts Are Easily Faked - Here's One We Just Faked for $800M
Using the "Inspect" feature on a modern web browser, you can easily change the recipient and the values for any wire transfer.
We transferred $25 to ourselves and then edited it to look like we sent $800,000 from Mickey Mouse to you, the reader of this story.
Lesson #3 - Wire Transfer Receipts Not Sent Directly from the Bank Can't Be Trusted
This was a common technique used by Anna Delvey (Anna Sorokin), as shown in Investing Anna, another Netflix hit.
It buys the scammer time—they can show that they have "sent the wire" and divert the problem to the bank or the international financial system. The big numbers on the fake wire transfer receipt look impressive—the victim feels like the bank's logo provides trust, and the big numbers are real.
The scammer can then push the blame to the recipient, i.e., "I've done the transfer—it's your bank that's the issue."
Exaggerated Proof of Spending/Luxury
This element of the scam was the hardest to detect as there were many photos to support what looked to be a very extravagant lifestyle. As was discussed in the documentary, Simon reused his pictures (and videos) with each victim. He used his archives of these experiences to bombard the victims with the impression of constant luxury.
The photos were almost impossible to fact check without appearing distrustful. The pictures were perfectly executed and made Simon look extremely wealthy.
However, Simon extended the lie by sending fake receipts to his victims to make it look like he was spending real money as a billionaire's son.
On Cecilie's phone, there's a picture of a private jet transfer receipt that Simon sent to her—a humble brag to show that he spends lots of money. This technique gives the victim faith that Simon can pay back whatever he asks to "borrow" from his victims.
In the humble brag photo that Simon sent to Cecilie, the recipient of Simon's alleged $250,000 transfer, TARTA JET, does not even exist—it's a faked receipt to brag from.
We can see this in the corner of Cecile's photo roll on her phone in the documentary. He sent it to her, which means he wanted her to see it.
Lesson #4 - Receipts Are Easily Faked (Be Wary Of Those Who Show Off Their Spending)
People can easily fake receipts. Here's a credit card charge that we just faked to show that we spent $90,896 to have a wild billionaire's night out at the now-defunct Studio 54.
Studio 54 closed in 1980, but anything can be added by the scammer.
Unfortunately, it's even easier to fake receipt stubs to show that you spend lots of money and that you're a big tipper (another humble brag tactic).
There's even a fake receipt website where you simply add a name and amount and a tip to show you are a big spender.
Fake Information Online
Early in the documentary, Pernilla mentions that she Googled "Simon" and "Leviev Diamonds" and was convinced that he was the real deal after seeing that Lev Leviev (who he said was his father) appeared to be a billionaire.
Additionally, Simon showed a photoshopped picture where he had positioned himself with the real Lev Leviev.
However, in the turn of the story, where Simon asks for money, the film shows that Simon sent articles to Pernilla to show he was in danger and needed money as his enemies were tracking his spending. This was used as his justification where he needed her money instead of his own to "avoid his enemies."
The article shown by the filmmaker is this article (see below).
Lesson #5 - Do Your Research and Do it Well
Two immediate alarm bells should have rung from this article.
1. The son of the billionaire in the story (see the third paragraph) is clearly named "Zevulun," not Simon. Googling "Zevulun Leviev" in 2018 gave no mention of Simon as his brother.
Of course, if he had been questioned on this, Simon would have used his lying skills and deflected this. He would have said that he was the "son in the shadows," and that's why he was invisible in the Leviev family connections.
2. The article clearly names the terrible enemies tracking his spending and hunting his family are, in fact, the Israeli Police!
If someone's enemies are the authorities who are hunting them down (as alluded to in the article he sent to Pernilla), and you help them evade the authorities (i.e., send them money to hide their tracks), you're joining them in the crime.
In the dramatic, urgent lie that Simon had created to lean on people for money (supported by sending them this article), victims were crossing a line by helping him evade the police. As a result, they risk being charged for a crime themselves.
Finally, a Wikipedia article about Lev Leviev, who Simon claimed was his father, names the Leviev family members as Joshua, Ruthie, and Zevulun. It does not mention Simon. This update [citation 3] was made in 2018, which may have been too late to help the victims.
Using Other People to Commit Crimes
Simon convinced both victims to cross the line into what was clearly committing a crime with or for him. This was one of the most compelling Tinder Swindler red flags
He convinced Cecilie to commit fraud by having her accept Simon's offer to create fake employment for her. He gave her a payslip (which was faked) in her name for a salary of $92k per month and submitted this to American Express to extract a higher credit limit from her platinum credit card.
He convinced Pernilla to help him cover his tracks through her cash when she had just read that the authorities were hunting his family.
Both of these events should have been huge red flags and should be for anyone in the future.
Lesson #6 - Don't Trust People Who Ask You to Commit Crimes for Them
When someone asks you to commit a crime with or for them, take some time to escape the pressure and talk it over with friends or family (people you trust. Getting the space might give you time to see things in a new light and help you put your feelings aside to think clearly.
Scammers won't give you time to step away as they know you might reconsider, but you must do this—it's essential to avoid a scam.