Tinder scam: A man lost Rs. 20 lakh after a fraudster trapped him into a cryptocurrency fuelled romance scam. Know how the scam works.
In a shocking Tinder scam, a US individual lost $277,000 or around Rs. 20 lakh worth cryptocurrency to a scammer who pretended to be his lover. Pulling a classic case of romance scam, this scammer trapped the victim on the Tinder app and won his trust before stealing all his money. It all began when Mike matched with a woman named Jenny from Malaysia on the dating app. After exchanging some messages, the conversation moved to WhatsApp and the two began talking for long hours. It was a smooth sailing ride till the scammer brought up Bitcoin.
The incident which eventually resulted in the victim losing almost the entirety of his life savings, was first reported by NBC News. “She started telling me about her uncle who worked for J.P. Morgan…he was the world expert in Bitcoin options,” Mike told NBC News. He added, “ I wasn’t look[ing] to invest in cryptocurrency. I was looking for somebody to have some fun with, you know, ‘Let’s go hiking, let’s go have dinner”.
Tinder scam results in a man losing Rs. 20 lakh in cryptocurrency
Interestingly, despite growing close to each other, the two had never met. The scammer, who went by the name Jenny, claimed to live in Malaysia and Mike was living in the USA. But regardless, Jenny was able to convince him into investing in cryptocurrency. Initially the victim bought Bitcoin worth $3,000 from a legitimate website. Then she persuaded him to transfer the crypto to a different platform, which was a fake website designed to steal from the depositor. As the Tinder scam progressed, Mike kept investing more and more cryptocurrency into that account.
“She would get me excited and say, ‘Mike, so you got to send more money. The more you have in here, the more you can make,” said Mike. Four months later, Mike had spent upwards of Rs. 20 lakh. Mike began growing suspicious and tried to transfer out his money and found out that his account was locked. By the time Mike realized what had happened, Jenny was gone, along with all his money.
These romance scams have become very common these days. Recently Netflix released a documentary called The Tinder Swindler in which a fraudster named Simon Leviev made women fall in love with him and then stole all their money. It has also become important to not fall for such scams.
Recently, Tinder released a set of guidelines on how users can protect themselves against scammers. Check the steps below and ensure to protect yourselves.
How to protect yourself from Tinder scams
1. Believe your intuition: Understand that your intuition is your greatest wingman. Always make a decision based on your judgment. If something does not feel right, walk away, stop communicating, unmatch, block and report.
2. Take a look at their Photos: Scammers rarely use their own photos, so consider running a reverse image search on Google to see if their profile photo is used elsewhere on the internet. To run a reverse image search, simply take a screenshot of the image and check it either through Google lens, or turn on the desktop mode in your browser, go to Google Images and click on the camera icon.
3. Ask questions, make them answer: Much like you would in getting to know a potential match, get to know people on a personal level by asking all of the questions. Don’t hold back your questions out of hesitation. The only way to be sure is by asking the questions that come to your head. Also, read their responses and see if they are reluctant to provide any information which is not supposed to be sensitive.
4. Keep your social media private: Scammers can use details shared on social media and dating sites to better understand and target you. Avoid sharing personal details about family and friends, your home or work address or your daily routine
5. Never send money online to a stranger: Cyber Cell Delhi advises to never send money to someone you meet online, including providing credit card numbers, bank account information, wire transfers, your social identifying number or any other personally identifiable information.