By Tracey Dowdy
Tinder is a free dating app that works through a user-friendly interface allowing users to swipe right to ‘like,’ or left to ‘pass’. If two users both like each other, it’s a “match” and they are then able to chat through the app. The app uses geographic proximity to narrow down matches and has over 12 million daily users.
When users set up their profile, Tinder automatically collates information based on their Facebook profile including photos, date of birth and gender. Once you’ve set up your profile, the app collates relevant matches based, interests, mutual friends on Facebook, location, sexual preference, and selected age range. Users then swipe right to make a match, tap their image to view more, or swipe left to continue looking for potential matches.
Seems straightforward enough, but its simplicity is part of its allure for catfishers – individuals who pose as someone else in order to prey on the vulnerable with hopes of scamming them for money, humiliating them, or for no other reason than they’re bored.
Dating sites – like any other online profile – should contain a limited amount of personal information. The person behind that match could be anyone – an ex, a stalker, or a troll – none of whom need access to information like your address, where you work, where you work out, and under no circumstances share your banking information.
Keep an eye out for these red flags to avoid being catfished:
- Be suspicious if your match has no social media presence.
- On the other hand, be suspicious if you discover they have multiple profiles on the same social media platform – for example, two Facebook profiles or two Instagram accounts. It’s not uncommon for scammers to create fake profiles or to duplicate someone else’s accounts.
- Use Google for an image search to confirm that their profile photo is their own and not a stock image or belongs to another person. If the same photo appears under different names, there’s likely a scammer behind at least some of those profiles.
- They keep pushing you to send them intimate photos of yourself.
- They almost immediately profess their love for you, even though you’ve never met, and you’ve only recently matched with them.
- They always have an excuse why they can’t talk over the phone or video chat.
- And of course, never send money. Scammers will often fabricate a sob story about wanting to meet in person but they can’t afford it.
It’s also a good idea to do a quick Google search of their first and last name with their location. If a different person appeaOnline scams
rs, or no one at all, that’s another red flag.
If you suspect you’re being catfished, stop communicating and report it immediately.
Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.