Tinder scam – how cybercriminals are robbing victims of their money. With the rise of online dating, a new type of marriage scam has emerged. Internet investment fraud, in conjunction with romance scams, has recently become a new area of operation for perpetrators.

More and more scammers are prowling online dating sites like Tinder and social networks – at a time when many people meet their partners there. They play the big love to their potential victims, build up trust and finally get them to make a supposedly profitable capital investment – often in cryptocurrencies.

Table of contents

  1. Tinder scams – examples and experiences
  2. Procedure of the scammers in dating apps
  3. Warnings: Are you a victim of Tinder scams?
  4.  Stay cautious and sceptical
  5. Summary: This is how the Tinder scam works
  6. Investment scams with Tinder – what you can do

In the following, the Herfurtner law firm will give you examples and experiences of victims in the area of Tinder fraud and investment fraud. Furthermore, we will give you advice and warnings with which you can protect yourself from this type of internet fraud.

If you have already become a victim of fraud in connection with Tinder, romance scamming or online trading, our lawyers will advise you in the entire German-speaking area.

Tinder scam – examples and experiences

Heart surgeon, soldier in the U.S. Army, successful businesswoman – the made-up people the criminals hide behind are wealthy, attractive, overly attentive and mostly located abroad. A well thought-out charade, perfectly designed for lonely people who are looking for true love on Tinder and similar portals on the internet.

In the end, many of you become scam victims and are left with hurt feelings and a huge financial loss.

Anyone can become a victim of Tinder fraud.

This was the case for a professor from Frankfurt who was immediately taken by the photo of the young woman who messaged him on the dating app Tinder. After days of exchanging messages, he was hopeful that he had finally met a successful and attractive businesswoman.

She seemed just as taken with him. Addressed him with pet names and reciprocated his desire to meet him soon. Both typical, precisely calculated approaches of the scammers aimed at building trust. At some point, she told him about a wonderful investment opportunity that required quick action and only a small sum of money of a few thousand dollars.

Not least to impress her, the wealthy businesswoman, he transferred the money to a foreign online trading platform for cryptocurrencies. A few days later, his dream woman was no longer available. The same woman with whom he had talked about private topics, hobbies, future plans and family had disappeared.

Just like the 9,000 dollars he invested in Ether on her tip on a supposedly reputable trading platform. His experience matches that of many scam victims on Tinder & Co. The scammers take advantage of the fact that so many people meet their partners via online dating services and social networks.

The “love scam” or romance scam is a variant of the marriage scam that is now increasingly taking place digitally.

This man’s story is a chilling example of the power of desire – and the ability of criminals to create the illusion of emotional closeness in cyberspace.

Tinder scam – procedure of the scammers

The perpetrators proceed according to a certain pattern. First, they spend a lot of time and energy building trust with their subsequent victims. Then they ask for money – always. In many cases, like the one described above, it is about fake crypto investments.

Often, however, the criminals also tell of emergency situations they have got into and because of which they urgently need financial support from their victim. They promise to pay back the money. Both this promise and the emergency situation are nothing but lies. Some scammers also tell their victims that they want to visit and ask for money for the expensive flight ticket.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the scammer’s goal is to quickly establish a connection with their victim, ingratiate themselves with them and gain their trust. In most cases, crooks come across as honest, compassionate and credible when they approach you. But eventually they will ask you for money.

It is often smaller amounts of money that the victims are asked for at first. These are usually increased further and further. Some victims of fraud become so dependent that they borrow money from friends and relatives and take out loans until they are house-deep in debt. The perpetrators continue to appeal to the longings of lonely people.

They fantasise about a common future, promise to be there for their victims and to pay back all the sums. The fraud victim in our example, the professor from Frankfurt, has to cope with a loss of 9,000 euros. In many cases, however, the damage is likely to be much greater.

Last year, the Internet Fraud Reporting Centre in the USA received over 20,000 applications with a total loss of 475 million dollars. The FBI had published these frightening statistics on “romance scams”. That is an average of well over 20,000 dollars in a single case.

And what’s worse, experts predict that the number will continue to rise in the coming years. The scam is so effective that perpetrators regularly resort to it to reap the rewards. One of the most lucrative cybercrime crimes is the modern marriage scam, which has been around for quite some time.

Since the police in Germany do not document the individual offences but combine them with other reported fraud cases, the financial consequences here can be just as serious.

Investment fraud via MarketsProfit

The lawyers of the Herfurtner law firm are aware of several cases in which a contact person on Tinder has advised investments on the MarketsProfit platform. MarketsProfit is a fraudulent trading platform. The British financial supervisory authority FCA has already published a corresponding warning notice on the provider on 06 November 2021.

On the actions of the fraudsters: A woman first introduces herself as the contact person on Tinder. We know of a woman called Annie and a woman called Yang. The following contact details are known for these persons: Annie, +4915175629125 (Tinder contact) Ms Yang, 35 years old, lives in Frankfurt a.M

In the first few days, the chat consists of everyday conversations. After a few days, the topic of crypto trading is brought up and extensive winnings are advertised. The contacts then send a link with a group invitation to a trading group in WhatsApp. Then a so-called “teacher” contacts them.

The “teacher” is a kind of moderator of the group and account manager of all group participants. The following phone number is known: +447424110035 (administrator) The teacher then explains how to open a trading account with MarketsProfit. The scam then takes its course.

Usually, payments are first made to crypto platforms where cryptocurrencies are bought, which are then transferred to the fraudsters’ wallets. The following wallet address is known: 0x64001f260D66963e691B907E772d45bCFA6B3162 The profiles of the contacts can no longer be found in the dating apps after a short time.

Contact apps (e.g. Happn) other than Tinder are also affected

The dating app Happn is also increasingly used for this scam scheme. The contact person calls herself Lucy li Joaqi. The correspondence takes place after a short time via the app Line. She sends a link to a chat group called ‘Mr Bert’s investment exchange group‘.

This group is led by the ‘teachers’ named Cokok and Bert. A trading account is arranged with the provider HND Global. Deposits are made via cryptocurrencies to a wallet with the address TN3cHFdn1X43fHwgSUWU66esQbVWSN4CFv.

Warning signs and clues to Tinder scams

What started out quite romantically suddenly ends up being about money. It starts out modestly, but can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars over time.

The payments victims make usually go to foreign accounts, are processed through money service providers or flow into fake investments of digital currencies such as:

  • Ria
  • Western Union
  • MoneyGram
  • Cardana ADA, Ether, Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency

It security experts stress that this type of scam on Tinder or WhatsApp is not a classic cyber attack. This scam is compared to psychological tricks, such as those used by secret services to establish a connection to another person in order to exploit them. Manipulations of this kind are called social engineering.

According to computer scientists, marriage fraud can be committed on a large scale via the Internet. As long as the interlocutors are not critical, the perpetrator can maintain the illusion via Tinder or other apps and that simultaneously with 30 or more people.

Even though police authorities around the world are increasingly warning about this scam, it is not always about supposedly spectacular cryptocurrency investments.

In many scams, the perpetrators pose as professionals such as engineers, soldiers, doctors or businesswomen who are temporarily stationed in another country and suddenly find themselves in a life-threatening situation.

Sometimes they allegedly have to pay back taxes, sometimes they are in hospital after an accident, and sometimes they cannot access their bank account to pay for a ticket to travel to their new love because of an unforeseen emergency.

Many victims and victims of scams have gathered in a forum called “Romance Scambaiter” where they post evidence and raise awareness to prevent further scams. In Tinder scams and other romance scams, the criminals are not always after money, as the LKA NRW warns.

Some want copies of identity cards or passports so that they can easily forge documents. Others ask for money transfers or the transport of packages with unknown contents. The police authority warns that the perpetrators may thus implicate their victims in money laundering.

Remain cautious and sceptical

There are warning signs that everyone can see, regardless of their technical skills. A healthy scepticism is in order, especially if a face-to-face meeting has not yet taken place, say authorities who deal with such scams. They point to the difficulty of verifying virtual accounts.

Until a real meeting takes place, the disclosure of personal information on living situation, address, job or financial status is “a taboo subject”. As soon as money or sensitive data about one’s identity is demanded, the authorities advise to end the communication and file a report with the police.

According to Tinder, there is a “zero tolerance policy” for “scams and fraudsters”. Reporting tools can be used if a user wanted to extract financial information from one. The popular flirting app also mentions that there is a verification feature.

This could be used to find out whether a user is a legitimate member or not. These two processes would help protect the next potential victim and would thwart almost any scam.

Summary: Here’s how the Tinder scam works

Regardless of whether you are a man or a woman, you can become a victim of a Tinder scam. You meet a pretty person on a dating app (like Tinder). Quickly, your chat partner, a supposedly nice and extremely charming person, will suggest switching from Tinder to WhatsApp.

The pretext: it makes it easier to get in touch with you. What’s behind it? The first step to establish a familiarity with the later victim. After all, your acquaintance trusts you with their mobile phone number. A short time later, you will probably notice that the dating profile of the nice person has been deleted.

Allegedly because there was too much advertising or unwanted enquiries. Your conversation becomes more and more familiar. Then your flirt tells you about his incredibly successful internet investment. The topic of cryptocurrencies and other over-the-counter investments is increasingly interspersed in your conversations.

Shortly after, he or she will recommend a particular investment website to you. You will be enticed by the statement that this site is limited to only those subscribers for whom a recommendation has been made. Your Tinder acquaintance would do this for you with goodwill if you were interested.

Then, once you have made a financial investment, the following steps are the same as other internet scams and investment fraud cases. First, you are led to believe that your assets will grow quickly and that you will make huge profits. But the moment you want to cash out your winnings, the problems begin.

Your money is lost. Your Tinder date, whom you trust, may then kindly offer you another business that can help them recover the lost money. But in reality, the company behind the supposed online trading platform is nothing more than a front for the scammers. A façade that serves to pull money out of the pockets of you and other unsuspecting victims.

Fraudsters on Tinder & Co. – how to protect yourself

  • Be wary of profiles that are only a few months old and have a limited number of photos.
  • Ask yourself if everything is too good to be true. How realistic are gushy vows of love after a short time and without meeting in person?
  • Don’t trust too quickly – don’t give intimate details or information about your financial situation.
  • Check all claims and facts before drawing any conclusions. Research the statements of your new interlocutor on the internet. Use Google reverse search to find photos of the alleged partner. Often the same pictures are used for different fake profiles.
  • If you want to invest money, you must check with the Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) whether the company has an official licence. A company without a licence is not reputable and should definitely not receive your investment.
  • In case of Tinder fraud, collect evidence such as screenshots and saved messages. File a criminal complaint for fraud and get a lawyer to help you.
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This text is brought to you by the Herfurtner law firm. Their lawyers support their clients from Germany and all over Europe, regardless of their place of residence or business. In addition to the topics of online trading, cybercrime, investment fraud, scamming and fraud, they represent and advise private individuals, businesses and organisations in other areas of law, such as banking and capital market law, commercial law, IT law or real estate law.
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