Singles Beware: You’ve Seen ‘The Tinder Swindler’ But Now What? Five Ways to Know if an Online Relationship is Real.

Thanks to Netflix and its viral documentary film, ‘The Tinder Swindler,’ online dating scams have gone from distant facts and figures to internet fodder and front row seat entertainment. But it’s not so entertaining for the women (and men!) of online dating who’ve had their hearts (and wallets) broken. Long before the captivating Netflix film, the online dating industry was well aware of the very real problems with its services and their fake dating profiles, catfishing, financial scams, and the need for online dating identity verifications.

Tinder Swindler Breaks Hearts

Before we get into all the drama singles encounter with scammers pretending to be someone else online, a quick recap of the film! By now you know the story. But for those who haven’t gone on the internet or tapped into meme culture in the last few weeks, who is Simon Leviev?

Simon Leviev, a scammer dressed up in a billionaire and diamond mogul clothing, or now better known as the ‘Tindler Swindler’ conned millions of dollars from his victims with his epic romance gestures. Private jets, fancy dinners, and “good morning” and “I miss you” texts? Who wouldn’t fall in love. After luring his victims to fall in love with him and his lavish lifestyle, Simon convinces each woman to financially help him to escape his “enemies” (who knew the diamond industry was so dangerous!). Ironically, he’s currently public enemy #1 in the world of online dating. Is there anything better than a series banding together the masses against a common enemy? We haven’t seen strangers come together like this since “Tiger King” in the early pandemic days (*memories*).

Tinder Swindler

While Tinder has now banned the scam artist, Simon Leviev was still active on the app when the film was released. Tinder released a statement after the film, “We have conducted internal investigations and can confirm Simon Leviev is no longer active on Tinder under any of his known aliases.” But why did it take so long to ban him? We don’t know, and frankly it doesn’t matter. Online dating apps have proven time and again that consumers and their emotional, mental, and physical health are not a priority – especially Black women’s health.

The language that most dating apps are currently built on is antiquated, inefficient, and designed by (mostly white) men with no consideration for Black women’s specific needs, desires, and demographic. It also comes with a host of unintended side effects that we recognize are not so great for your mental health and actually work against our basic human instincts.

Check out Dating Apps are Not Created Equal — How Video is Evolving Online Dating, Especially for Black Women.

Romance Cons

The facts speak for themselves as to why our mission to make online dating safer is so important. Did you know around 1 in 10 online dating profiles is fake? What about that 60% of all online profiles are inactive? Still not convinced? What if we put a dollar amount to the problem? The FBI says Americans lost $1 billion to Tinder-Swindler style romance cons last year. Yikes!

While some of our competitors have concluded selfie verification is sufficient to “vet” members (e.g., Tinder). We disagree. How do you know if a Tinder profile is fake or if Tinder is safe? Well, it’s one thing to verify using a selfie, it’s another to verify whether the person in that selfie really is who they purport to be. And Google and Instagram “background checks” ain’t it either. At CarpeDM, we conduct a thorough background check to verify every member’s identity.

What do CarpeDM verifications include? They include member identity, employment, income, sex offender registery, and criminal history. Key criminal history markers include, but are not limited to: sex crimes, domestic violence, violent crimes, financial crimes like fraud and theft, and identity theft. While membership invitations are extended at our discretion, low-level infractions, traffic violations, and misdemeanor drug offenses are not alone disqualifying; the team is more focused on key markers that meaningfully impact a potential member’s dateability and fitness for membership.  

Check out CarpeDM says it’s time to require background checks and identity verifications in online dating because Google and Instagram sleuthing ain’t it.

Background Checks Online Dating

While you don’t have to worry about how to tell if an account or profile is fake on CarpeDM because we run verifications on and interview every member, it’s still always important to do your due diligence. The truth is, when it comes to online dating, we’re already taking a chance on meeting a stranger.

Here are five red flags to watch out for to avoid becoming the next romance scam victim, how to outsmart a scammer, and signs someone is bating you:

  1. They Avoid Video Chats and Meeting in Person: Are you emotionally entangled with someone you have never met in real life? You’ve seen MTV’s ‘Catfish’ and a tell-tale sign of almost every online scam was the catfisher’s reluctance to video chat or meet in person. If they refuse to chat or meet, you have your red flag to stop the play and get out of the game.    
  2. They Fall Fast and Hard: How do you spot a con artist in a relationship? If they ask you to get on a plane with them on a first date, that ain’t it! Especially when meeting someone online from a different country. Getting love bombed is tough, getting love bombed and losing your hard earned bag is even tougher. Don’t be fooled by the glitz and glamor of potential love. You may be the greatest catch ever, but the reality is nobody can know that about you early on. It takes time and effort to learn someone and truly fall in love.
  3. They Ask for Your Personal Information: A phone number is fine to share after you’ve hopefully had an in-app video chat (most of the major dating apps, including CarpeDM, offer in-app video chats). If they ask for your home or work address, passport details, or any other personal information – there’s your red flag. Nobody needs to know where to find you. It’s reckless and potentially dangerous. Shoot for staying on a dating app through at least a first date. This way, if you’re uncomfortable after meeting a match in person you can rest well knowing they don’t have any contact information outside of an app.
  4. They Ask You for Money: This one seems obvious, but we have to say it. NEVER EVER SEND MONEY TO SOMEONE YOU MET ONLINE! You should always be suspicious of any requests for money from anyone. Especially, if they tell you to take out credit cards and loans to help them! Whether it’s someone you have never met in person, recently met in person, or even dating – never send anyone money. And if someone has managed to give you green flags – still – do not send them money. Ask yourself… Outside of marriage, in what real life relationship scenario is it appropriate to ask someone for large sums of money?
  5. Get Yourself a Solid and Honest Support System: Share your dating experiences with your trusted friends and family. Dating is emotional and a support system can be far more objective and help you look for signs of a con artist boyfriend or fake relationship. If you’re embarrassed to run something a date has said or done by a friend, that may be an indication that you already know it’s a shady situation.
Tinder Swindler

We get it, being single can be lonely and it’s hard to turn away someone charming. But let’s avoid you having to learn how to get over being scammed. If you’re single, dating, and overwhelmed – there’s really only one thing to take from us – when a man asks you for money, err on the side of caution and run with a full pocketbook!

Do you have more questions about verified safe online dating and online dating sites with background checks? Check out our FAQs or contact

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