Home Dating asia Comment: In searching for true love, we pay a heavy price for Tinder scammers

Comment: In searching for true love, we pay a heavy price for Tinder scammers

0

‘I WILL NEVER FALL FOR THIS’

No victim wakes up in the morning thinking “I’m going to give away all my money today”. Instead, it’s the result of a careful grooming process. Offenders, having gained their victim’s trust, will often create realistic contracts, bank statements, or official letters to justify their demands for money.

They will usually describe these demands as both urgent and covert, as in the case of Leviev’s “security emergency” in which he claimed he tried to negotiate business deals while in hiding. This tactic reduces the victim’s ability to react rationally or seek outside advice.

Victims of romance fraud experience a wide range of negative impacts, including shame and social stigma. They are often blamed and held accountable for their financial losses, and this stereotype makes them less likely to report such crimes.

HOW CAN I PREVENT THIS FROM HAVING ME?

Online dating is heavy enough without having to worry about financial fraud. It’s hard to know that someone on a dating app is really who they say they are.

Current fraud prevention advice is to bring the relationship into the real world as soon as you feel ready and to never give money to someone you haven’t met in person. But in The Tinder Swindler, that advice is redundant because Leviev, like many delinquents, had curated an actual persona that matched his digital profile.

The truth is that a determined enough fraudster can extend their online lies into the offline world. Meeting someone in person, researching their background, and performing a reverse image search on their profile picture is good advice, but it’s not foolproof.

Ultimately, fraud is almost always about money. So think about the reasons behind any request for financial aid and never send money you can’t afford to lose. In 2020, Australians lost over A$131 million (US$93 million) to romance fraud. It’s a heavy price to pay to drive away true love.

Cassandra Cross is Associate Dean (Learning and Teaching) of the Faculty of Creative Industries, Education and Social Justice at Queensland University of Technology. This comment first appeared on The Conversation.