Think the Tinder Swindler only exists on Netflix? Think again.
That’s the message from North Yorkshire Police as they revealed residents in the county were swindled out of more than half a million pounds to romance fraudsters last year.
The Tinder Swindler is a true crime documentary which depicts the story of Israeli con man Shimon Hayut and several of his victims.
He portrayed himself as a billionaire diamond heir in order to con women out of hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Some viewers have been left asking, how do they fall for it?
“Romance fraudsters are cunning, manipulative and often highly sophisticated in their approach,” a North Yorkshire Police spokesperson said.
“They tap into our innate human desire to be loved and prey on goodwill and trust. Online dating sites and apps give them free rein to target multiple victims at the same time, whilst creating layers of deception.”
What to look for
Police say however much you think you’d be ‘too clever’ to ever fall for it, “we’d still recommend reading our tips to stay safe”.
- Are the photos someone is using on their profile genuine? Use Google reverse image search to find out.
- Have you ever seen the individual in person or on video call? Scammers will often use fake images and won’t use video chat.
- Have they asked you for money? Even a small amount should ring alarm bells.
- Is there anything about your interactions with the individual that don’t feel right? Trust your instincts.
- Think twice before using your webcam. Even if you think you know the person, footage can be used against you.
- Ask a lot of questions. You might feel like you’re interrogating them but your safety is the upmost priority.
- If you’re meeting up with someone, tell at least two trusted friends where you’re going and when you are home again.
- Do as much research on the person as you can.
- Be suspicious of anyone showing or claiming to lead a highly luxurious lifestyle – where do they get their money?
If you have information on a suspected fraud, call North Yorkshire Police on 101.