Here are Tinder scams, like the verify account scam, that you should look out for, along with advice on how to avoid them.
Since dating digitally is so popular, online dating platforms are the perfect tool for scammers. As Tinder grows in popularity, Tinder scams are becoming increasingly common.
Swiping right should never feel like the risk of a lifetime. Here are some Tinder scams that you should look out for, along with advice on how to avoid them.
1. Tinder Verification Code Scam
The Tinder account verification scam involves a match asking whether or not you’ve 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 in order to receive your Tinder verification officially.
The link, cunningly enough, sends you to a third-party website, no Tinder codes anywhere to be found. The sketchy site will usually ask 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 verify accounts, but this verification is never done through a third party.
In short: Tinder will never send an agent to verify you. Tinder verification is meant to ensure the veracity of your Tinder account; it uses both your face and your mannerisms to guarantee that you are, indeed, the person in all of your public-facing account photos.
This precaution is meant to reassure those that you interact with that they are not getting involved with a Tinder scammer (and, by extension, to reassure you of the same yourself).
2. Tinder Bot Profiles
The bots mentioned above are just one type of bot to watch out for on Tinder. Many 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 that they send you will likely end up asking you for personal information. They’re usually fake sites or downloadable malware. We recommend reading up on 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 quickly as possible. Recognizing a bot will sometimes be more difficult than you might think. Bots do very well with the kind of conversations you have in online dating—short, direct questions and responses.
Like the Tinder code scam, these bots have only one mission: to trick you into providing your personal contact card. On Tinder, you need to keep your wits about you at all times for this reason.
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% of the real people on Tinder will not ask you to follow a link, download an app, or play a sketchy online game. If the person you’re talking to asks you to do this, chances are, it’s a scam.
If you suspect a Tinder match is a bot, there are a few strategies for confirming your suspicion. Challenge suspected bots by asking complicated or very specific questions, such as asking the bot to explain something in one of their photos. Two-part questions will also usually do the trick.
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 on Tinder.
Safe dating means being honest with yourself when a really great catch starts to act like a Tinder scammer bot. Sometimes, things really are too good to be true.
3. Catfishing on Tinder
Many Tinder scams are run by real people using fake profiles. Also known as “catfishing”, these Tinder scammers use a fake persona to make you believe that they are interested in you.
These Tinder scammers are difficult to identify, as they don’t behave like bots. They’re often willing to play a long game. Tinder takes some steps to prevent these types of scams by asking users to link their accounts to Facebook and Instagram, but this isn’t always enough.
Human scammers can create fake Facebook profiles with images sourced online and will often come up with 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 ask to talk to you on the phone and suggest starting a more serious relationship.
Inevitably, some sort of disaster will allegedly happen to the scammer. At this point, they’ll usually just blatantly request money from you. Sometimes, they’ll claim to need money to travel to meet you; other times, they’ll claim there’s some family emergency and that they need financial help.
By playing to your emotions, master Tinder scammers can make thousands of dollars across many victims using these techniques.
How to Recognize a Tinder Catfish Scam 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 or not 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; somebody on Tinder asking for WhatsApp information is one red flag to watch out for. Be sure to put off speaking to someone on any other social media platform 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.
Last, but certainly not least, don’t give money to people you meet through social media or dating apps. Confirmed to be legit or not, asking for a cash handout before you’ve even met in person is never a good look.
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 nudes, the scammers demand money in exchange for keeping the images private.
Unlike Tinder bots, these Tinder scammer accounts are run by real people who carefully groom potential victims for extended periods of time. Once they establish trust, they ask for these images.
How to Deal With Tinder Blackmail Scams
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.
It’s not too late if this has already happened. If you are being blackmailed on Tinder or other dating apps, there are services that can help you.
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. The UK has a dedicated helpline for people whose intimate images appear online.
5. Tinder Dating Arrangement Scams and Venue Promotion 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 and that you should stop by if you would like to meet up.
When you arrive, your match isn’t there. Instead, you may find other people who were also invited by the same profile.
There is also another version of this scam. 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 Being Scammed on Tinder by Promoters
Look out for any matches that suggest meeting up at a specific venue after very little interaction. Most people want to least chat for a while before they suggest meeting up.
If you’re suspicious about a potential date, 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.
If they were hired to get customers to a specific venue, they won’t want to meet up somewhere else.