Tinder may be full of chances for meeting the love of your life, but the dating app is unfortunately also home to many scammers who are far more interested in connecting with your bank account than with you. Luckily, some tips and tools may help you look out for these types of Tinder scams and stop someone from swiping your money after swiping your picture.
Tinder is an app for meeting people—whether that's for a quick hookup, a friendship, or a serious relationship.
Launched in 2012, the app skyrocketed in popularity thanks to its easy expansion of the dating pool, but possibly even more so for its game-like platform, which turned searching for a suitable suitor into an addictive action.
A carousel of prospective partners in your general area—selected based on several preferences you can set—are presented one at a time, and accepting or rejecting their potential is as easy as swiping right (for 'like') or left (for 'pass'). If someone you've liked also swipes right for you, the budding relationship is honored with the opportunity to start chatting.
And fast-casual daters today have more options than ever, with more than 6.6 million Tinder users worldwide reportedly making more than 1 billion swipes a day. But that rise in use hasn't been without its rise in controversy, as the app's strange straddling of anonymity and opportunity have been exploited for any number of unsavory plots.
Unfortunately, Tinder's unique setup makes it an easy platform for scammers to try out all sorts of tricks. Here are some of the most common scams people encounter while using the app.
Perhaps the most infamous scam impacting the app, the Tinder catfishing scam, involves someone posing as someone else—whether that be someone else entirely or just a more conventionally attractive version of themselves.
The point is: The person on the app isn't real. And neither is their supposed affection.
Tinder catfishers will do or say whatever it takes to gain your trust—and win your love. Then, once you're hooked, they'll start asking for financial help, bank account details, or any other helpful information they can wrangle out of you.
Heartbreakingly, the time and effort typically put into this long con can make detecting it especially difficult.
Like the Tinder catfishing scam—but for robots.
The advancement of technology may be impressive, but it's not always used for the common good. These "bots" have enticing profiles and are programmed to swipe right on everyone to cast the widest net possible.
Once the matches start rolling in, the bot will send out messages, masquerading as a person but directing you to malicious websites set up to steal your information, sign you up for pricy website subscriptions, or install malware on your device.
Another outgrowth of bot/catfishing Tinder scams, this is typically perpetrated by people swiping right on everyone.
Instead of a bot sending out a potentially easy-to-detect default message with a link, this scam involves someone taking the time to chat with you. They then offer to send more information about themselves, whether to share a bigger picture of who they are or even to prove to you that they are who they say they are.
To do so, they'll send a link, possibly to their personal website, Facebook page, or Instagram account. But, instead, this link will download malware on your computer or phone, which will go on to help the scammer gain access to your details.
Also known as the Tinder account verification scam or the Tinder verify scam, this is a much more widespread type of trick, just applied to a different platform.
In a Tinder code scam, you'll be informed via email or text that you need to "verify" your Tinder account. Typically, the message includes a few vague reasons why—like that Tinder is "updating its records."
The messages will include a link to follow to verify your account. The site may ask for information ranging from your name and birthday to your credit card number to "verify your identity," but any information you enter will be sent instead directly to scammers.
One of the oldest tricks in the book—with a modern twist.
People will use their Tinder account to reel in matches and exploit them in many perverse ways.
Some may make a play to elicit illicit photos, then use those as leverage, threatening to disseminate them if you don't pay up. Others may target married individuals or others with a lot to lose and use the connections they make over the app or elsewhere to extract hush money.
When it comes to Tinder scams, as with so much else, knowledge is power.
Knowing what to look out for can help you stop a Tinder scam before it even starts. And knowing how to shut down the situation can help, even if it's already begun.
Scammers are constantly evolving their schemes—and the introduction of bots to the mix may make it even more challenging to spot a Tinder scam. Add in the emotional state that guides many people through their use of the app—whether it's the desperation for a relationship or the desire for a hookup—and it becomes even easier for scammers to operate.
But if you notice any of these red flags, they may be signaling a Tinder scam:
If you think you're dealing with a Tinder scam, don't worry. There are a few ways to stop the situation:
When it comes to Tinder verify scams, you should also know that the app only asks certain public figures or brands to officially "verify" their accounts or identities.
Further, Tinder will never ask you to verify through a third party.
As the number of Tinder users—and Tinder scams—has continued to rise, Tinder itself has stepped in, rolling out some initiatives to help keep swipers safe.
Keeping your conversations within the app may be helpful, as Tinder has created something called a Safe Message Filter, which scans for inappropriate or chatbot messages and may be able to alert Tinder's scam protection team of potential issues.
You can also report any problems directly to Tinder, either online or through the app itself. Report users through the app by:
If you think a Tinder scammer got a hold of your financial information or has stolen your identity, you should:
And for more severe problems, including stalking or harassment, you can and should also contact your local police as soon as possible.
Remember: You're never sure exactly who you're talking to online. Be safe!
The Tinder safe dating scam tricks users into giving up their credit card info to verify their profiles and leads to auto-enrollment in monthly subscription-based porn sites.
Apple Pay may be a convenient way to send money, but it's also become a favorite among scammers looking to make a quick buck at your expense.
If you receive a phone call from Apple Support, it could be a scammer attempting to steal your information and access your accounts.
If you've been notified that your Apple ID has been locked, don't click the link in the email as this could be an attempt to steal your password.
Whether it's the IRS, Social Security office, or a relative, be careful with anyone asking for payment via an Apple gift card—it's likely a scam.
Beating this scam is simple—don't pay for anything using gift cards and don't give anyone you don't know or trust your gift card information.
If you've received a locked debit card text message from Citibank, it's likely a scam. Don't click on the link and delete the text message.
If you receive a text message from Chase Bank, don't click on any links or call the phone number listed—it could be a scam designed to steal your information and money.
If you receive a text message from American Express, don't click on any links or call the phone number listed—it could be a scam designed to steal your information and money.
If you received a text message from Citizens Bank asking for personal information such as your password or login credentials, it may be from a scammer trying to steal your money.
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