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Woman realizes she was scammed of life savings after watching hit Netflix documentary

Streaming services are bigger than ever, thanks to the pandemic. Many Hollywood productions went straight to streaming services in the last couple of years, while others were released simultaneously at theaters.

While cutting the cord may be satisfying, it could cost you more than expected. Streaming services have seen increases in prices, and one of the most popular ones out there is raising its numbers again. Tap or click here to find out how much you’ll soon be paying for Netflix.

True crime documentaries are all the rage, and a recent one is making waves for more than just glowing reviews. “The Tinder Swindler” made one woman realize that she had been the victim of an online romance scam. Keep reading for details.

True crime hits home

ABC7 interviewed a woman named Kathy from Aurora, Illinois, who watched “The Tinder Swindler” and noticed something familiar.

Kathy had joined a 50+ dating site called SilverSingles, where she made contact with a man she soon fell in love with. He would woo her with sweet messages and she eventually asked to meet.

The man responded that he had to go to Toronto for a job but needed $5,000 for work permits. Kathy sent him the money. He then requested more for healthcare and surgery he claimed he needed.

Kathy couldn’t afford to support the man and he suggested she take out loans and use her house as collateral. He promised to pay her back and sent her screenshots of his bank account, showing he had the means. She ended up sending him more than $92,000.

Later, Kathy’s friend recommended “The Tinder Swindler” as a good watch. Once Kathy saw it, she realized she had been scammed. She is stuck paying off the debt and will have to delay retirement.

What to watch out for

The FTC reports that people have lost $1.3 billion to romance scams in just the last five years.

Here’s how the scam works. Thieves will steal photos of attractive people from websites like Facebook to create fake accounts on dating sites. Sometimes they pretend to be the people from the stolen photos.

Then they study potential victims’ profiles and use the information to show common interests and earn their trust. Fake sob stories such as health issues are common tactics. Scammers will also tell their victims they can’t meet right away, as they live far away.

How to avoid falling victim to online dating scammers:

  • Nobody legit will ever ask you to help by sending cryptocurrency, giving the numbers on a gift card, or by wiring money. Anyone who does is a scammer.
  • Never send money to someone you haven’t met in person, and don’t act on their investment advice. 
  • Talk to friends or family about a new love interest and pay attention if they’re concerned.
  • Try a reverse-image search of profile pictures. If the details don’t match up, it’s a scam.

You can also help stop scammers by reporting suspicious profiles or messages to the dating app or social media platform. Then, tell the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

A hit show

“The Tinder Swindler” is a true-crime documentary on Netflix about Simon Leviev, who used the Tinder dating app to defraud women out of money. He lured them in with sweet words and promises of a lavish lifestyle.

After some back and forth exchanges, the conman asked for money, saying he needed it to get away from the people who were after him. Women gave him their payment information, and he promised to pay them back by showing false bank documents.

He then used the money to find more victims, cutting off contact with previous ones as he went along. In some cases, Leviev used threats to extort more money. “The Tinder Swindler” has a 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and 7.2 out of 10 on IMDb.

Keep reading

FBI warning: Avoid these romance scams that have cost victims millions

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