Are you an active Tinder user? Be careful because the popular location-based dating app has now become a target of a scam, and a clever one indeed. If you’re tricked by it, you may end up losing up to $100 a month, or perhaps even more.
How Does the Tinder Scam Work?
Symantec research reveals that Tinder has recently inspired spammers (and scammers), as spam activity related to the app has been detected. The spam claims to promote safety in online dating, a trick applied to “attract” affiliate money.
It’s the latest spam trend to hit the mobile dating app. Since 2013, we have published a few blogs detailing the rise of spam bots on the popular mobile dating application, Tinder. While Tinder has changed its service recently with the introduction of a premium offering, the app remains a popular destination for spammers.
The new spam/ scam involves the initiation of flirty conversations with playful opening messages like “Wanna eat cookie dough together some time?“. The spam bot will “release” several messages, and then will ask the user whether he has been verified by Tinder. Clever, right?
What happens next? After the verification question is dropped, the spam bot encourages the user by saying the cute and innocent “it’s a free service tinder put up, to verify the person you wanna meet isn’t a serial killer lol“. It’s a smart move because online daters are definitely still concerned with their safety, despite the global popularity of dating apps.
The spammers know that and that’s why they leverage the user’s safety concern, meanwhile making them think a date will follow up.
Needless to say, this verification claim shouldn’t be confused with the real verified profiles introduced by Tinder last year. This feature adds a blue check mark to profiles of notable figures, celebrities, and athletes. The Tinder verified profile is similar to the verified badges on social media like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
More about the Tinder Verification/ Safety Scam
If lured by the scam, the victim will be instructed to click on a link that links to an external site. The website contains keywords about verification, background checks, safety, date codes, protection, researchers note.
Most of the external websites included the word “tinder” in the URL to make them appear official.
Symantec’s research unveiled 13 different “Tinder Safe Dating” websites that were all reported to the registrar.
What happens if the user visits one of the 13 websites? He’d be greeted with a page that has a copycat Tinder logo and font. The page features fake information about the alleged verification system and stresses on the fact the service is free of charge. Expectedly, the page also features pictures of a woman in lingerie. The tricky part is that the page promises the victim the woman’s contacts (like Skype, email address, phone number) but not before the victim is verified.
To complete the verification process, the user is required to create a user name and password, and provide an email address. After this information is submitted, the site asks the user to provide a “secure age verification” in the form of credit card details.
This is yet another example of the importance of reading the fine print on anything you sign up for. According to the scam’s fine print, the victim is opted in to a “FREE Bonus Offer” of trial memberships to erotic and adult webcam services. In case the victim doesn’t cancel their free trials within the given time, they will be charged by three websites.
The combined total of these charges is US$118.76 per month. These sites would earn revenue while the scammers would make a commission from the three sites for these referrals. It is unclear, however, how much commission the scammers would make, but for this activity to persist, it must be significant enough for them to continue.
How to Be Protected against Spam and Scams
If you are on Tinder or any social media or dating service really, be sure that spam bots will not stop going after gullible users. In case you notice such a scam, you should definitely report it to Tinder (or the related service), so that the scam is quickly removed before other users become victims.
And generally, you should always read carefully through any registration form and have a careful look at the address bar of every page you open.