All the horror stories out there about the dangers of online dating are certainly not too far away from the truth. However, the real dangers of Tinder seem to have migrated to more technological scams. Online dating related crimes have definitely evolved, and we have to evolve with them.
The number of scams that run on Tinder is actually quite high, from the classic catfishing to Tinder bots and chatterbots, which eventually get you to provide personal information that you should never give to strangers anyways or getting you to follow links that will download malicious software into your phone.
Here are some examples of what you should be looking out for when on Tinder as well as some strategies that can make your experience more secure, so that you can safely swipe, match and chat away, in the hopes of getting an actual date instead of a conning experience.
Here are the three main threats you will find on Tinder:
1. The Catfish
Although there is an MTV show titled Catfish the TV show in which couples that had met online finally met in person and one of them turned out not to be who they had said they were, this is not a trivial matter. Feelings can be hurt, and wallets can be spent when this happens.
So what does it entail?
Basically, the person you are texting has photos on their profile that are not theirs or they have been heavily photoshopped, so they look way different there compared to their real-life personas. Now, this can be due to many reasons, the most worrying one, of course, is when they are looking to scam you out of money.
How do they do this?
I know this might be devastating if you guys have actually built something –or you think you have- but trust me on this, is time to run and save yourself some money. Unfortunately, you have been wasting your precious time with a very bad human being.
On the best of scenarios they are actually insecure about themselves or have low self-esteem and they put a different photo because they feel like they don’t have a chance with their actual picture. And yes, I said this is the best-case scenario. So at least you are not getting scammed, but you’re definitely being lied to.
Strategy: Meet this person as soon as possible! And this is actually a regular Tinder recommendation, if they are the real thing, you don’t want to let the conversation cool off. So meet them in person as soon as you can and that way you will lower your chances of falling for a scam!
2. The bot
The first sign of alert for these cases: their photos are just too good. Remember, most of the Tinder profile photos are taken by the user or someone using their phone, so they generally don’t look like magazine photos.
No, I don’t say that all awesome photos are a bot, but since these little parasites use photos from models’ Instagram or Facebook profiles, you’ll see that the photos look as if they were done by a professional because they probably were! So this is your first sign that something might be wrong.
Your second sign is the fact that they type way too fast. You got a match and immediately, less than a minute later, they text you. Now, I’m not saying it’s impossible that they had the app open when you guys matched and that they were just excited to start talking.
But if as the conversation goes it so happens that their answers keep being typed way faster than you would expect, then be careful, because you just might be dealing with a bot instead of a human being.
Another thing to look out for is the quality of the answers. With generic bots, you’re going to get very flirty messages but their answers will have a very low specificity. This is hard to determine because dating apps’ conversations sometimes tend to go this way.
The final proof though will be when they send you a link to follow. They might disguise it as a Tinder verification outlet, as an online game they want to share with you or as something else that you guys apparently have in common.
Remember when your mom told you not to accept candies from strangers? Same thing! Never, and I mean never, follow these links!
They will either lead you to a page in which you eventually have to put your credit card number or download some malicious virus or malware that’s going to go right into your phone. So please, unmatch them immediately and use some of these…
Strategies: Ask specific questions. By asking them for something specific it will be harder for the bot to actually give a satisfactory answer since it’s not programmed to do so. Another thing you can do is to throw a random word immersed in a normal sentence. If they keep going with the conversation or, even worse, use that word to continue, you’ll know you’re not talking to a human.
Also, if you see that the entire combination is there, super fast answers, amazing pictures, and generic chat, you might want to get out of there, because you are about to be scammed.
3. The Confirm Your Tinder Profile chatterbot
Now, this one is practically part of the prior one with a lot of things in common, really. The main difference is that these are more sophisticated bots and can keep up with the chat way better than the previous generic bots.
They are going to flirt with you and they might even be witty or funny. The trick?
They still have the same goal as their general bots counterpart so, sooner than later, they’ll show their true colors. And when they send you a link to go to another app, verify your account, a game, another social network, and a long etcetera, you’ll know that you haven’t been talking with someone real and that they only want to take some money from you.
So it’s time to unmatch, say goodbye, and move along, after all, there is plenty of real people out there, waiting to match with you.
Strategy: The same ones explained with the former bots apply. And remember, if they ask you to verify your account, don’t forget that Tinder doesn’t use third parties to do this, so you shouldn’t have to follow any URLs for this.
How to Avoid Getting Scammed on Tinder?
There are some things that will apply both to the catfishes out there and to the bots and chatterbots. If you have no common friends on any social media such as Instagram or Facebook, it is more likely than not that they’re not the real thing, even if their pages are extremely detailed and well-constructed, which they usually are, especially in the case of catfish.
If the Tinder profile photos are too good to be true, they might actually be, so beware of suspiciously good photos or overtly suggestive. This last thing can be used to get your attention at first and then try and scam you.
I’m not saying that if they have no bio they are a bot, but almost all bots have no bio, so there you go! Now you see the importance of having a bio! You don’t want anyone to think that you’re a bot. And if you find any of the red flags mentioned above together with this lack of info…well, there you go!
Finally, a couple of reminders that should really just be common sense by now:
Never follow links provided by strangers, don’t give money to strangers – really, why would you do this?- and have a trained eye while you’re swiping away. The first filter is their profile and you have the option to avoid this malicious messages by just using your criteria a bit better while swiping right and left.
I hope this will be useful to you and that you take all these things into consideration. After all, with more exposure, more risks tend to come, but they’re quite manageable if you just keep an alert eye and make use of your common sense as well as following my humble advice. Have fun, be safe and enjoy!