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The Tinder Swindler: How To Avoid Being Scammed While Dating

Overall, it's a no.

Human Interest

If you never heard about TheTinder Swindler, then you may be living under a rock. TheTinder Swindler is a Netflix docuseries about Simon Leviev and the women who all claimed to have been scammed by the charismatic gentleman. These women met Simon on the dating app Tinder where (spoiler alert) he allegedly posed as a wealthy businessman that came from a family who owned a diamond company (he denied that he was an heir of a diamond company in an interview with Inside Edition).


However, over time, the women that he was dating claimed that he defrauded them out of an estimated $10 million following various schemes. One of the women, Ayleen, had the idea to get back at Simon and she put together a plan that would eventually lead to him being caught.

He was convicted of fraud, theft, and forgery and he served five months out of the 15 he was sentenced to in an Israeli prison in 2019. Since the documentary has come out Simon has denied the allegations on his YouTube page with his new girlfriend by his side.

"I was just a single guy that wanted to meet some girls on Tinder,” he said. "I'm not a Tinder swindler."

The documentary also sparked a lot of conversations on social media.

The last tweet resonates with many daters, but there are ways to protect yourself. Here are a few tips to help you avoid falling victim to a Tinder swindler (Hinge, IG DMs, IRL.)

Do Your Googles

We may not always do it, but it is best practice to Google the person you’re dating or getting to know. Also, check out their social media pages. While their dating profile may show them one way, their social media pages a lot of times will show you if the person you’re entertaining is actually real.

Don’t Overshare

When you first begin dating someone, you never want to share too much personal information about yourself especially if they share so little. Yes, you may be excited and nervous, which may cause you to overshare, but it’s best to tone it down and be aware. If they’re not willing to open up, there’s a huge possibility that they are hiding something.

Love Bombing

The term 'love bombing' has been brought up a lot lately, but what does it really mean? Love bombing is a manipulative tactic used to control you by 'bombing' you with overt affection, gifts, and compliments early on in dating to rush the relationship. The ultimate goal is to make you feel obligated to the love-bomber and for the love-bomber to be in control. It’s a major red flag, so if you experience it, run!

Too Good to Be True

A lot of the women in The Tinder Swindler doc shared how they were whisked away by Simon with private jets and luxury hotels at the beginning dating stage, which all seemed too good to be true. Nine times out of 10, if it feels too good to be true, it probably is. Always trust your instincts as they will never steer you wrong.

Question Frequent Canceling

If you and the person you’re entertaining always make plans to see each other but they keep on canceling, then hang it up. No matter how fine they are or how nice they seem to be, their frequent cancellations are a clear sign that they’re hiding something or they don’t value you in that way. Overall, it’s a no.

Don’t Lend Money

Last, but certainly not least. Don’t ever, ever, ever give money to someone you just met especially if you’ve never met them IRL. Just like Simon in The Tinder Swindler, people will come up with elaborate schemes just to trick others into giving them money. Don’t take out a loan, don’t let them use your credit card, debit card, or put anything in your name. If someone you’re dating starts asking you for money, block them.

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When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

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