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Since online dating is so popular, online dating platforms are a perfect tool for scammers. And with Tinder being one of the most popular apps, Tinder scams are common.
Here are are the Tinder scams that you should look out for, along with advice on how to avoid them. Because we want you to keep swiping right without being scammed.
1. Tinder Account Verification Code Scam
The Tinder account verification scam involves a match asking whether you have verified your profile on the app. The match, who is actually a bot, then asks you to verify your account through a link that they provide.
However, the link sends you to a third-party website. The site requires you to fill in personal information such as your full name, your email address, 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 fall for this scam report that the subscriptions can run up to $120/month and are very difficult to cancel.
How to Avoid This Scam
Tinder does actually have verified accounts, but this verification is never done through a third-party.
According to the Tinder FAQ, “Some Tinder profiles are verified to confirm their authenticity. Verified profiles include public figures, celebrities, and brands. If a Tinder profile is verified, a blue verified badge will appear next to the user’s name.”
However, you have to send a verification request to an email address at Tinder to start the process. Furthermore, verification is limited to only certain public figures and brands. Therefore, the average person won’t be verified.
2. Tinder Bot Profiles
The bots mentioned above are just one type of bot using Tinder. In reality, many different types of bots try to lure users into different scams.
These bots can usually simulate a real conversation. However, after a short while, they will send you a link, asking you to visit it. The link usually sends you to an app, an online game, or some other online service.
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 say that they recommend the service and you should try it out.
Unfortunately the links they send you will likely end with you providing personal information to a fake site or downloading malware to your phone, so be sure to learn how to spot online fakes used by scammers.
How to Recognize a Tinder Bot
The easiest way to avoid a Tinder bot scam is to learn to recognize one as fast as possible. However, recognizing a bot is more difficult than you might think.
Improvements in chatbot functionality make them a lot harder to identify. Bots do very well with the kind of conversations you have in online dating—short, direct questions and responses.
Here are a few ways to spot a potential bot:
- Be on alert if the profile only has between one and three very similar photos (especially glamor or professional modeling shots).
- Profiles with limited info, nothing in their bio, and very suggestive images are more likely to be bots.
- Bots often reply very quickly—sometimes faster than the time it takes to type their message. They are also more likely to message first.
- 99 percent 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, the chances are it’s a scam.
If you suspect a Tinder match is a bot, there are a few strategies for testing your suspicion. 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.
You can also try 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 you’re talking about), you know it’s not a real person.
3. Catfishing on Tinder
Many scams are run by real people using fake profiles. Also known as “catfishing”, these scammers use a fake persona and make you believe that they are interested in you.
These scammers are difficult to identify, don’t have the tell-tale signs of bots, and are often willing to play a long game. Tinder takes some steps to prevent these kinds of scams by linking profiles to Facebook and Instagram, but this isn’t always enough.
Human scammers generally create fake Facebook profiles with images sourced online and 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’ll request money from you. Sometimes they claim to need money to travel to meet you; other times they’ll claim there’s some family emergency and they need financial help from you.
By playing to your emotions, master scammers can make thousands of dollars using these techniques.
How to Recognize a Catfish or Fake Account on Tinder
If someone has a very limited profile and you’re suspicious, consider using a site like socialcatfish.com to check whether their account is real. This site’s search engine can help you verify that their 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 you don’t flag their Tinder account for spam. So be sure to delay speaking to someone on WhatsApp, Skype, or text until you’re sure that you can trust them.
Another great way to avoid a catfish scam is to actually meet up with your matches. A catfish will usually find excuses or not show up to meetups since they’re hiding behind a fake profile.
Finally, don’t give money to people you meet through social media or dating apps.
4. Tinder Blackmail Scams
Scammers also target Tinder users for blackmail schemes. This scam involves Tinder profiles that solicit nude pictures from other users in order to blackmail them. Once you send through nudes, the scammers demand money in exchange for not releasing the images.
Unlike Tinder bots, these scammer accounts are run by real people who carefully groom potential victims for days. Once they establish trust, they ask for these images.
How to Deal With Tinder Blackmail
To avoid this scam, do not send any compromising images of yourself to matches—especially if you’ve never met them before. This is just one way to protect your privacy while dating online.
However, it’s not too late if this has already happened. If you are being blackmailed on Tinder or other dating apps, there are organizations and companies that can help you. You should get in contact with an organization that deals with removing private images from the internet.
Find an organization in your country that deals with takedown requests for private images. Google has a dedicated takedown request form for these types of issues if your images appear in search results.
Furthermore, the UK has a dedicated helpline for people whose intimate images appear online.
5. Venue Promotion Scams on Tinder
Another scam on Tinder involves people hired to attract customers to a specific venue, such as a restaurant. The match will tell you that they will be at a venue soon with their friends and you should stop by if you would like to meet up.
However, when you arrive, your match isn’t there. Rather, you’ll find other people who were also told to stop by by the same profile.
Another version of this scam is especially popular in China. The online date will want to eat at a specific venue and will rack up a huge tab that you have to pay for. After the date, you’ll never hear from your match again.
How to Avoid This Tinder Scam
Look out for any matches that suggest meeting up at a specific venue after very little interaction. Most people want to at least chat a while before they suggest meeting up.
If you’re suspicious of a potential date, maybe suggest an alternative location to meet up, such as a coffee shop. This makes it unlikely that they’ll rope you into an expensive dinner and shows whether they’re willing to budge on where to meet. If they were hired to get customers to a specific venue, they won’t want to meet up somewhere else.
Stay Safe While Online Dating
So there we have it. These are the Tinder scams you need to watch out for while swiping right on people you want to date. But thankfully, scams are still a small part of online dating as a whole.
There are a few rules to follow when online dating, such as not sharing too much information, not lying on your profile, and using the right platform for your goals. So make sure you check out our online dating mistakes you should never make and these mistakes to avoid when using Tinder so that you can enjoy a positive experience.
If you’re still nervous about scams and want to do away with it, here’s how to delete Tinder once and for all.