In this blog, we round up some top tips to spot a romance scammer, courtesy of Lara Besbrode, an award-winning and Accredited Matchmaker at The Matchmaker UK. Drawing on lessons learned from Netflix’s hit series, The Tinder Swindler, we’ve outlined some red flags to look out for and provide you with tips to protect yourself from a scammer or catfish.
The Tinder Swindler is a real-life story depicting the inner workings of scam artist, Simon Leviev (or Shimon Hayut), and the wake of financial and emotional destruction he leaves on his path to scam numerous victims, primarily vibrant women looking for real love.
Intriguing, informative and downright frightening, the documentary is eye-opening for many reasons. It showcases the lengths some bad apples will go to in an effort to scam unsuspecting victims. It also demonstrates how scam artists exploit emotional vulnerability in the early stages of a romance to (literally and figuratively) swindle their match out of money or other resources!
Whether you’re looking for red flags to watch out for or simply want to protect yourself from a scammer or catfish, here are Lara’s top tips to safely navigate the dating landscape and avoid falling into the trap a romance scammer:
1) Beware the lovebomb: Scammers, much like social predators, are highly skilled at playing on your heartstrings to seduce you into the guise of feeling loved, wanted and desired. If after a few exchanges, your phone starts blowing up with heart emojis, fairy-tale messages and proclamations of love (including lofty promises of riding off into the sunset); be cautious and consider hitting the brakes on this match.
2) Things are moving fast, very fast: Love takes time. It also takes quality moments, spent in person over the course of many dates, to get to know someone on a deeper level. If you feel the budding relationship is moving too fast, trust your instincts. It’s possible that a scammer is hard at work.
3) An elaborate excuse for not meeting up in person or via video: You want to meet in person, but they’ve got an excuse for that: too busy, wrapped up with work or out of town. If someone is serious about you, they’ll make the time to see you (either in person or via live stream video). This is not only a sign that you’re dealing with a romance scammer, but it’s also characteristic catfish behaviour.
4) They ask you to send money: The classic tell-tale sign. Be on the lookout for anyone who asks you to send money for any reason, including an emergency, one-time payment or other excuse. If you’re in this situation, refuse to hand out any financial lifelines and do not provide them with any financial details.
How to protect yourself:
1) Don’t give out your personal information: This includes any personal information regarding your financial details, credit history, or other sensitive data.
2) Remember, a serious match will not ask you for financial support: No matter how compelling the situation, do not send or receive any money for any reason.
3) Ask to meet in person as soon as possible: As matchmakers, we encourage our matches to meet in person right away without delay. There’s nothing that should hold you back from meeting the person you’re waiting to meet.
4) Use trusted sources to meet matches: Most reputable dating platforms will monitor and track communications on their platforms. If your match is in a hurry to take communications off-platform, be weary. Here at The Matchmaker UK, clients are vetted via a thorough background check and identity verification process, giving our matches peace of mind.
5) Trust your gut: Ultimately, if you feel something is too good to be true, it probably is. Romance scammers are not only masters of manipulation, but they’re relentless when it comes to wreaking havoc on your emotions, finances and trust. Whatever you do, trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, speak up or walk away.
If the Tinder Swindler has got you feeling jaded about meeting someone trustworthy online, why not ditch the dating apps and reach out to Lara Besbrode to discuss our professional, discreet and confidential matchmaking service today. We create exquisite introductions for the most exquisite individuals. Contact The Matchmaker UK today to learn more about our premium matchmaking services.