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How to Avoid the Tinder Swindlers

February 9th, 2022 | By Trelawney

Netflix’s hit documentary, Tinder Swindler, is about living life online. It’s about looking for love with strangers. It’s about the emotional and financial damage internet scams cause. The show also highlights the issues with policing online activity, and the lack of resolution for women who have been left with crippling debts and broken hearts.

This frightening true story centres around a man who calls himself Simon Leviev. He documents his flashy life online, travelling between luxury hotels on private jets, driving the best cars, wearing designer clothes. When women who match with Leviev on Tinder google him, they are impressed with his lifestyle. The fact that he’s handsome and clean cut makes him even more appealing. The show demonstrates just how quickly intelligent, successful women want to please this man.

Cecile, a beautiful, young woman living in London, tells us how after one brief meeting, she was boarding a private plane with Leviev and his entourage.

The fact that this group included his former partner and child did not faze her. Cecile – who describes herself as a ‘Tinder expert’ – was enthralled by her match’s apparently lavish lifestyle. She boasted to friends that she was boarding the luxury jet. Some of them advised caution, but Cecile was already smitten.

The End Of A Fairytail And The Start Of A Nightmare

Months later Cecile was £250,000.00 in debt. Leviev was already romancing other women, he had been all along. Each new victim paid for him to seduce the next woman. All of the woman believed they had found a generous, loving and thoughtful man… until the fairy tale took its inevitable dark turn.

Leviev claimed to be the son of a billionaire diamond dealer. He used the same videos over and over to convince women of his money and power. He would then send footage of his beaten body-guard and explain that he was unable to use his credit cards for fear of his ‘enemies’ tracking him. Inevitably, the women he had charmed would send him money. Once the first transaction had been made, Leviev’s thirst for more was insatiable. It’s suspected that he has conned women to the tune of ten million pounds, to date.

Tinder App

After a brief prison sentence, Leviev is a free man and dating again. He is still portraying himself as a rich and dashing playboy. No doubt, new victims are funding his lifestyle.

What is most striking about the documentary is how smart and savvy his victims appear. These women are warm, funny and self-reflecting. Yet still, they were blinded by the promise of true love and friendship. An elaborate internet scam completely disarmed, and later devastated, them all.

Simon Leviev is a con man Shimon Hayut. He is clearly skilled at what he does. Like many online daters, he is just a mirage.

Date Safely

Five years ago, I created the Dating Safely Guidelines for the UK’s Dating Association. These guidelines provide common sense safe-guarding techniques for single men and women. They can be accessed for free from the Dating Agency Association’s website

The guidelines are more relevant now than ever. It so easy to be seduced by what we see online. Scammers like Shimon Hayut tap into the human desire to be loved. It’s hard to imagine how callous a person must be to destroy others who have shown them such kindness, but it’s happening every hour of every day.

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The Internet has transformed the ways in which we communicate with new people over the past decade. Numerous messages, emails and texts have often already been shared before we meet face to face. The easy intimacy of the written word can lead to premature feelings of trust and security: we are sharing more details of our lives with strangers than ever before in history. Make meeting face-to-face a priority when getting to know a potential new partner. You need to be certain that an individual is truly who they say they are – and that you are comfortable in their company – before you start to allow genuine feelings of trust to develop. Don’t forget that until you have established a true connection, a stranger is still a stranger

Stand Back And Evaluate

When we meet a new and exciting potential partner, it’s natural to want to be seen as the very best version of ourselves. Success and affluence are sometimes attributes that we feel may attract people to us. However, it’s important to remember that anyone with a genuine interest in you is unlikely to feel the need to be provided with excessive information about your bank account. If a new person starts to ask questions about your financial situation or assets - or appears to be offering you ways to invest your money – take a firm step back while you assess whether there is a disingenuous motive. By keeping your personal sitution private until genuine trust has been developed, you are protecting yourself from potentially insincere people.

Pernilla Sjoholm and Cecilie Fjellhøy

If a potential partner is interested in the possibility of a genuine, lasting relationship, he or she will be happy to allow you to set your own boundaries. Never allow anyone to put you under pressure or attempt to manipulate you into behaviours that feel uncomfortable. Always make safeguarding your own personal safety a priority. The healthiest relationships are built on understanding, acceptance and kindness. If a new connection appears to be lacking these qualities, take a step back and reassess whether this person is someone you truly want to invite into your life.

It’s important that you create a situation in which you are free to leave a date whenever you feel ready. If anything about the situation is making you feel uncomfortable, do not hesitate to end the date. If it’s safe to leave alone, do so. If you feel that you need support, alert a person in a position of authority at your location, or the police, according to the situation. Always meet in a familiar, public location. Ensure that you know where you are and that you are able to leave easily if necessary. First meetings should always be in highly visible locations: never be persuaded otherwise. In line with the Dating Safely Check-In Procedure, always let at least one trusted friend or family member know where you have arranged to meet your date.

We live in a time when people frequently tell each other to ‘stay safe’. This has never been more important to remember when looking for love.