Tinder Cheater: 5 strategies to know to avoid falling victim to romantic scams

2022-06-09 0 By

In The top-rated Netflix documentary The Tinder Swindler, three women describe how they were duped after meeting convicted con artist Simon Leviev (real name Shimon Hayut) on a dating app.The film is a detailed and insightful account of how Leviev used Tinder to contact his victims and ultimately defraud them of hundreds of thousands of dollars.I’ve been studying romantic fraud for more than a decade.I have heard the stories of pain and trauma from hundreds of victims.While each story is unique, there are common elements, as well as some broader lessons to be learned.Tinder Swindler is a powerful example of what can go wrong, but what does it teach us about romantic fraud and how to avoid becoming the next victim?What is relationship fraud?Relationship fraudsters use the guise of a personal relationship to exploit a victim’s trust and gain financial gain (or sometimes, as ASIO warned this week, to access private or confidential information).It’s usually done online through dating websites or apps or social media platforms.In many cases, the victim and the offender never actually meet.However, as the Tinder cheater has shown, it can also happen in face-to-face relationships.Romantic fraudsters use a range of ingenious grooming techniques, social engineering practices, and psychological abuse strategies to gain their victims’ compliance.Leviev managed to manipulate several women by posing as the son of a diamond tycoon, then claimed his family had been threatened with violence and asked his victims to take out loans on his behalf to help deal with alleged security emergencies.Each of his actions was deliberate and purposeful, and reflected more broadly in known patterns of offense.Here are some typical tactics that Leviev used: create an attractive image and identity that exudes power, wealth and status.The victims of the “love bomb” expressed deep affection, including moving quickly towards a “couple” to discuss possible futures.Create an “emergency” that urgently needs financial help — this could be a business situation, a medical problem or a criminal justice problem, such as claiming to have been arrested overseas.These financial demands escalate over time, often requiring the victim to transfer money, sign up for a credit card or apply for a bank loan.If the victim refuses, he or she is threatened, abused or otherwise coerced.Why did the victim send the money?From the safety of the living room sofa, it’s easy to say “I won’t agree.”But we must never underestimate the ability of a skilled criminal to identify a weakness or weakness and ruthlessly exploit it.Through surveys of both victims and non-victims, the study revealed a number of characteristics associated with being a victim of romantic fraud.Crucially, people with higher romantic beliefs, or beliefs about “true love”, were more likely to be victims.Several of the victims I spoke with could identify specific reasons that led to their initial decision to contact the offender.This could be the loss of a previous relationship or a change in life circumstances (such as retirement or children leaving home).In many cases, the split-second decision to swipe right on a profile or respond to a friendly message changed their lives forever.One’s vulnerability to fraud is not fixed;It can change monthly, weekly, or even daily.If many victims see the information at different times, they will not be deceived.The perpetrators targeted hundreds of victims in the hope of a single success.My research also found that many offenders use psychological abuse techniques similar to those common in domestic violence.Perpetrators may prevent victims from communicating with family and friends, bombard them with messages to monopolize their attention, or verbally abuse them to make them feel worthless.All of these strategies impair the victim’s ability to think clearly about his situation or seek help.This one get the cake!!# # TheTinderSwindler simonleviev pic.twitter.com/tnFqfkfSkM- Ofentse Shezi (@ OventseShezi) on February 5, 2022No victim wakes up in the morning thinking “I’m going to give all my money away today”.Rather, it is the result of a painstaking grooming process.Perpetrators gain the trust of their victims, often creating lifelike contracts, bank statements or official letters to justify their money demands.They often describe the requests as urgent and secret, such as leviev’s “security emergency,” who claimed to be trying to negotiate business deals while in hiding.This strategy reduces the victim’s ability to react rationally or seek outside advice.Victims of romantic fraud suffer a wide range of negative effects, including shame and social stigma.They are often blamed and held responsible for their financial losses, a stereotype that makes them less likely to report such crimes.How can I prevent it from happening to me?Online dating is worrying enough without worrying about financial fraud.It’s hard to know when someone on a dating app really is who they say they are.Current fraud prevention advice focuses on bringing relationships into the real world as soon as you’re ready, and never offer money to someone you haven’t met face-to-face.But in The Tinder Swindler, that suggestion is redundant, because Leviev, like many criminals, has already engineered a real-life character to match his digital profile.The truth is that a determined fraudster can extend their online lies into the offline world.Meeting someone in person, researching their background, and doing a reverse image search on their profile picture is all good advice — but it’s not foolproof.In the end, fraud is almost always about money.Therefore, please consider the motivation behind any request for financial help, and never remit money that you cannot afford to lose.In 2020, australians lost more than A $131 million to relationship scams.A heavy price to pay for true love.