Finding love is already hard enough, and it’s even harder now that the scammers have hit Tinder.
Gizmodo writer Matt Novak recently requested (under the Freedom of Information Act) all the consumer complaints received about Tinder. What he found were a series of painful stories in which men and women were scammed, or blackmailed after opening their hearts to someone they could trust.
Online dating has becoming increasingly common and the rate at which these scams are being perpetuated, it’s important to look at what we can do to prevent this from occurring to anyone else.
Don’t Send Money
As Novak mentioned in his piece, telling someone not to send their Tinder match money seems like a common sense lesson. However, when you’re caught in the scam, it may be difficult to see. People inherently want to trust a person that they’ve made a romantic connection with. Additionally, some scammers play a slow game, asking for small amounts at first before some larger “emergency” happens to befall them.
Sometimes the request isn't even direct, like the image above. They talk about money troubles and will mention direct, feasible amounts (usually above $50 but below $100) in an attempt to pull at the heartstrings and get you to lend them the money.
It’s sad to say and even harder to hear, but if they ask for money of any kind, that’s probably all they want.
Don’t Send Nudes
This seems like another common sense lesson here but when it comes to sending nude photos of yourself, it’s hard to gauge who you can trust. The key factors to ask yourself here is:
- Have I met this person?- How long have I known them?- Is this person trustworthy?
Sometimes you can ask all of these questions and still get it wrong. Again, many scammers will play the long con if it gets them what they need to extort money. If you do decide to take the risk, don’t have your face or any identifying marks/locations visible. If you really want to play it safe, don’t send any at all.
If They Ask For An iTunes Card, They’re Probably A Scammer
One consistent thing we noticed in Novak’s list of stories was the request for an iTunes gift card. We’re not entirely sure what the connection is to the card or if it’s an attempt at gaining access to an iTunes account. Either way, if iTunes is involved, stay away.
Be Wary Of The Military
This really sucks because there are thousands of members of our military on Tinder who aren’t scam accounts, and it's disgusting that scammers use this as a front. However, like with the iTunes gift card, another common thing for these scammers to do is claim they are in the US military AND are stationed/deployed outside of the US.
Just keep an eye out for red flags such as asking for an iTunes card or email addresses that don’t seemed to be associated with the US government. For example, one scammer provided an email as [REDACTED]@diplomats.com. This could seem legit to someone who isn’t looking out for it, but any government email address would likely end in .gov.
If You Think They’re A Scammer, Stop Talking To Them
Trust your gut. It’s easy to ignore red flags because you’re excited about this new person but if you think something is off, it’s because something is off. Most of these people who have filed complaints have all said at some point or another they something felt wrong and ignored it. If something feels wrong, ask about it. Press for details. It's not a bad thing to be curious. If you still don’t have an answer that makes you comfortable, then it’s probably for the best to let whoever you’re speaking with to drop by the wayside.
Nothing we’ve said is a hard and fast rule. In the end, just be safe and pay close attention. No one wants to be scammed, but there’s nothing worse than being scammed and heartbroken.