Avoid Tinder Swindlers With These Dating App Safety Tips

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If someone you loved asked for $25,000 because their enemies were after them, what would you do? Most of us would probably roll our eyes and laugh, but unfortunately for dozens of women around the world, this request is all-too-familiar. Netflix’s recent documentary smash, The Tinder Swindler, revealed the shocking amount of cash one guy was able to scam out of women he matched with on Tinder. He spent the money on expensive cars, private jets, lavish hotels, and more — all while leaving his victims in serious debt. 

In an age where it’s easier to meet someone through a dating app than in real life, do we just throw our phones into the sea and resign ourselves to a life of singledom? We think not. So long as you’re prepared and have safety top-of-mind, you should be okay out there in the dating pool. To help you determine which signs may indicate trouble and which may indicate the real deal on a dating app, CircleAround spoke with online dating expert Julie Spira, the CEO of Cyber-Dating Expert

Red Flags to Look Out For

“When I view profiles on dating apps, I always look for the red flags, both on the profiles and in the messaging,” Spira tells CircleAround. Below are just a few examples of red flags to keep in mind. And if you still aren’t sure, trust your gut.

1. Emergency Request for Money. “Eventually, there will be a sob story or some emergency that requires you to open your wallet and transfer money to them temporarily. It could be a work crisis or a medical emergency. If work is to blame, they will say they're waiting to get paid and promise to repay you very quickly. Then they will disappear. If the person you're chatting with lives in a different country than you do, chances are they might be living a double life. I say it's vital to protect your heart and your wallet. Take the time to get to know someone, and don't rush into an instant relationship.” 

2. One or No Photos. “I’m also wary of dating profiles with either just one photo or one photo that appears blurry. Someone serious about finding love will fill out the entire profile, including adding six pictures on a dating app.”

3. Showering You With Expensive Gifts. “I say beware of the love bomber who sends fancy roses and over-the-top presents to win your heart.”

4. Jumping into an Instant Relationship. “When communicating on an app, it's a red flag if someone says ‘I love you’ too fast or tells you they've never felt this type of instant connection before. They will likely define the relationship immediately and ask you to become their girlfriend or boyfriend to make you feel secure about their love for you.”

5. Too Busy to Get Together. “Their lives will be so busy that they won't have time to get together and make and cancel plans frequently.”

6. Avoiding Video Dates. “They will often come up with an excuse to avoid chatting on video. Technology today makes it easy to hop on a FaceTime, Zoom, or in-app video chat. If your date refuses to show their face on any of these platforms, they might be hiding something.”

7. Excessive Bragging. “On profiles, it's a red flag when someone brags about money or poses in front of fancy cars that might not be theirs and talks about their lifestyle with private planes and traveling around the world.”

Green Flags to Look Out For 

“Most profiles are filled with green flags, or those looking for a meaningful relationship,” Spira tells CircleAround. Spira lists some green flags that indicate it’s probably safe to move forward with your match. 

1. Using all of the Digital Real Estate. “People who fill out the fields, prompts, and post six photos are the ones you want to pursue.”

2. Positive Attitude. “I tell singles to avoid profiles filled with baggage and drama. No one wants to hear about someone’s crazy ex, problems at work, or financial problems.”

3. Professional and Casual Photos. I” say you’re only as attractive as your worst photo. If someone is hiding the truth, they might be wearing sunglasses so you can’t see their face. If you can see their face and smile, it’s a good sign.” 

4. Perfect Punctuation and Grammar. “I look at a dating profile like a resume for love. Profiles checked with a grammar-check software, such as Grammarly, before posting are a good sign.”

5. Humor and Wit. “Everyone wants to meet someone who can make them laugh, but to avoid the clichés, a profile that says something funny, or has a funny photo in it, shows you’re real.” 

6. Schedules a Virtual Date. “Feeling safe on a dating app is vital. Vetting your date can easily be accomplished by scheduling a virtual date. At Cyber-Dating Expert, we go on ‘mock dates’ with our clients to make sure they look their best for their video date.” 

7. Interest in Meeting. “The goal of finding love on a dating app is actually to meet someone and not to have a digital pen pal. Make sure the person you’re chatting with is ready to set up a date in person.”

The Bottom Line

Love makes people do crazy things, but taking out a loan and going into debt for a stranger you met on a dating app shouldn’t be one of them. You’ll feel more secure and confident in your approach to dating by knowing when a match is too good to be true versus when they are genuinely seeking a healthy relationship.

Tags: Dating, relationships, dating apps

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Written By

Katka Lapelosová

Katka is a writer from New York City, currently living in Belgrade, Serbia. See Full Bio

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