Dating apps like Tinder are more common than ever. Unfortunately, that popularity comes with a downside.
Scams targeting Tinder users are also becoming more popular, and more creative. If users aren’t careful, these scams can cause some serious problems for the individuals that fall for them.
It’s a good idea to stay aware of the current scams being used on Tinder users. Then, you’re able to quickly identify and ignore any scams or bots who come your way. This gives you more time to send messages to matches who actually matter, and who aren’t trying to fool you!
1. Account Verification Scam
The account verification scam is one of the most common scams currently on Tinder. The scam works like this:
First, you match with someone. Unfortunately, in this scam your match is actually a bot. They will send the first message, often right away. Then, they will hold a short conversation with you. This conversation will probably be very flirty, and won’t go in-depth into any topic.
After you exchange a few messages, your match will ask if you have verified your Tinder account. They will send you a link to follow, which will take you to a third-party website that features key words like “Tinder Safe Dating.” These sites often look legitimate, and often use Tinder’s trademarked icons.
If you express concern about following a random link, the bot will try to reassure you. Bots will say that Tinder uses the verification service to make sure the person you want to meet is who they say they are.
Tragically, your match is lying to you. If you follow the link to the website (even though you should never follow links from unknown sources), you are asked for personal information. This may include your full name, your e-mail, your birthdate, and your credit card number.
Instead of being used to verify your account, this information is used to register you (and your credit card) for costly subscriptions to adult websites. Users who fell for this scam report that the subscriptions can run up to $120/month and is very difficult to cancel.
How to Avoid This Scam
Tinder recently introduced verification for profiles (see Tinder’s FAQ for more details), but it is a process that runs through the app itself. Tinder does not verify accounts through third-party websites or apps, and you should never follow links from people you don’t trust. Further, unless you are registering for Tinder Plus through the Tinder app itself, you should never have to provide credit card numbers for anything to do with Tinder.
2. Scam Bots
The bots mentioned above are just one type of bot using Tinder. In reality, there are a number of bots that are all trying to lure users in to different schemes.
However, recognizing a bot is more difficult than you might think. Websites use chat bots online for a number of legitimate functions, such as customer support and search queries.
Unfortunately, improvements in chat bot functions make them a lot harder to identify on Tinder. Bots do very well with the kind of conversations you have in online dating — short and direct questions and responses.
Because of this, if you match with a bot, they will hold a conversation with you that makes a lot of sense. They will be flirty and fun, they’ll love your pickup lines, and things will seem to be going great.
However, after some time passes, the bot will make their move. They will generally promote a website, an app, an online game, or a download to you. Their approach may be more subtle than you’d imagine! The bot may talk about wanting to play the online game with you, suggest downloading a chat app so that you can have a more adult conversation, or recommend the website as a friend.
Unfortunately, all of these recommendations will likely end with you providing personal information in order to register, or downloading a virus to your phone.
How to Recognize a Tinder Bot
The easiest way to avoid the consequences of a Tinder bot is to recognize one as fast as possible. These strategies can help you to identify bots and challenge profiles that make you suspicious.
- Be on alert if the profile only has between 1 and 3 very similar photos, has nothing in its bio, or features very suggestive images.
- Bots often reply very quickly — sometimes faster than the time it takes to type their message. They are also more likely to message first.
- Challenge suspected bots by asking complicated or very specific questions. This could be as simple as asking the bot to explain something in one of their photos or asking a two part question.
- Some people also have success identifying bots by using a nonsense word in place of a noun while asking a question. If the bot uses the nonsense word back (instead of asking you what the heck you’re talking about), you know it’s not a real person.
- 99% of the real people on Tinder will not ask you to follow a link, download an app, or to play a sketchy online game. If the person you’re talking to asks you to do this, chances are it’s a scam.
3. Human Scammers
The most difficult (and potentially heartbreaking) Tinder scams of all are the scams run by real people. Also known as “catfishing”, these scammers will build a fake persona and lead users to believe that they are romantically interested in them before scamming them in some way, for instance asking for money.
These scammers are difficult to identify, don’t have the tell-tale signs of bots, and are often willing to play a long game in order to lure users in.
Tinder takes some steps to prevent these kinds of scams by linking profiles to Facebook and/or Instagram, but this isn’t always enough. Human scammers generally create fake Facebook profiles with images sourced from online, and will create elaborate stories about their fake lives.
Once you match with a scammer, they will probably be very quick to suggest moving to another chat platform such as Skype. They may even talk to you on the phone and suggest starting a relationship. Inevitably, some sort of disaster will supposedly affect the scammer. After this, they will need money, and you will be the “only one” that they can turn to. By playing to users’ emotions, master scammers can make thousands of dollars using these techniques.
How to Recognize Human Scammers
The emotional and financial effects of human scammers can be horrifying, especially for those who truly believe they have met “the one.” For this reason, it’s incredibly important that you be able to recognize and avoid these scams!
First, the most trustworthy profiles are the profiles that look like they belong to normal people. Tinder profiles that link to Spotify or Instagram, and that display mutual friends and shared interests are by far the most trustworthy!
If someone doesn’t have any of the above features, consider using a site like socialcatfish.com. This site’s search engine can help you to verify that images, emails, phone numbers, or usernames aren’t being used with multiple accounts.
Many people running a catfish scam will want to talk on other forms of social media as soon as possible so that their Tinder account doesn’t get flagged as spam. Feel free to put off speaking to someone on WhatsApp, Text, or Skype until you feel that you trust them.
Another great way to avoid being catfished is to meet up with your matches as soon as possible. It’s always reassuring to know that you’ve met the person behind the profile.
Finally, don’t give money to strangers you meet through social media or dating apps. It’s really as simple as that.
Tinder’s popularity and simplicity make it an easy and fun way to meet people online. Even though meeting people from the internet is becoming more common, you still need to play it safe!
- Don’t click on links or downloads from people you don’t know!
- Always meet up with your date for the first time in a public area, and never at your home address.
- Don’t trust profiles blindly — do some detective work if any alarm bells ring.
- Report spam profiles so that they can’t lure in people less savvy than you.
- Don’t give money to people you haven’t met in person.
Have you had a bad experience with a Tinder scam? Any advice for people who might run into the same thing? Let me know about it in the comments!