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‘Tinder Swindler’: Aurora, Illinois woman realizes she’s being scammed after watching Netflix show

AURORA, Illinois – A woman from Aurora, Illinois said that a man she met online cheated her over $ 90,000.

Kathy, who asked only to share her name, said she did not realize they were playing her until she watched the popular Netflix show “The Tinder Swindler”, but by that time, she had already exhausted all her savings.

She said after almost two years of staying home during the pandemic, she was alone.

“And that got me thinking. If something like that happened, you know, again, I do not want to be alone. You know, I want someone here,” Kathy said.

So he decided to try dating online and signed up for SilverSingles, a site for people aged 50 and over. She said she met a handsome older gentleman who dragged her off her feet.

“I thought I was in love because every time I listened to him, my heart just opened. And it was interesting, exciting,” he said. “And after each phone call before we hung up, we prayed alternately and even that, he was very cute.”

Kathy said he fascinated her with messages such as “Good morning my wife, I hope you had a good night’s rest” and “I love you more than you can imagine.”

But she never met her new love personally.

“I asked to meet him. And he said, ‘Well, I’m leaving for a job in Toronto and I have to go fast,'” Kathy said. “I work here and I need $ 5,000 for this permit. And they will not get a check or anything.” So I think, yes, I want to help this man. You know, I fall in love with him. Why wouldn’t I want to help them? “

Kathy said she sent him $ 5,000 for the permit. She then gave him more money after he had an accident. And then he gave even more money for his operation.

“And I said, ‘I do not have that kind of money.’ And then we started talking about where we could get that money. “And he kept making suggestions, you know, so I ended up refinancing and making money in my house,” he said.

And when he needed more money for his various misfortunes, he said he took out loans and sent him the funds.

Kathy said that the love of her life sent her a snapshot of his bank account, showing that he had the money to return it. And although she had not yet met him personally, he believed he would be with her soon.

Then one night she said that her friend recommended her to watch “The Tinder Swindler” on Netflix, where several women said they lost thousands of dollars from a man they met online. And that’s when everything clicked.

“I will go, ‘my God,'” he recalls. “Everything matched.”

“I’m drawing Peter to pay Paul so I can get this payment because it ruined my credit as well,” Kathy said. “They kicked me out of my bank. They closed my account and feared I was laundering money.”

The total amount sent to him is disappointing.

“Just over $ 92,000,” Kathy said.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, over the past five years, people have reported losing a staggering $ 1.3 billion in sex fraud, the highest of any FTC fraud.

In fact, the money lost through sex scams increased sixfold from 2017 to 2021.

Steve Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois, said reports of online dating scams had risen during the pandemic, but were still largely unreported.

“Some people feel really ashamed that their family will find out and some people we spoke to still believe they exist and will get out of carpentry again,” Bernas said. “People are losing their savings and everything is being done by a scammer who is doing this to hundreds of people.”

Our brother WLS-TV station chose not to show a photo of Kathy’s love interest because most of these scammers steal photos online to attract you.

The point, Bernas said, is that you can not fall in love with someone you have never met.

“And there’s always a reason they can’t meet you. And that’s what we call tip off to rip off,” Bernas said.

It was a disappointing realization for Kathy that she still can’t believe she fell in love with a scammer. She is now paying whatever she can for her loans and has delayed her impending retirement until she can pay off.

SilverSingles warns its users that if someone on the internet asks you to send them money, stop contacting them and mention their profile.

Full statement from Spark Network, SilverSingles parent company:

Security is always a top priority in everything we do, in all our brands on the Spark Network. By detecting any possible fraudulent behavior, we apply many countermeasures. Spark uses external tools based on artificial intelligence, powerful transaction detection, internal filters, and uses a large, dedicated fraud team to manually investigate cases. Unfortunately, as with any online activity, there are “bad factors” out there, but we remain committed to keeping our users safe on our platforms.

We also invest in user education, as evidenced by the security pages on our sites (see links below), because it is important to equip our community / audience with the right tools to mitigate the risks of online dating. We also refer our users to the Federal Trade Commission’s Online Dating Scams website: http://www.onguardonline.gov/articles/0004-online-dating-scams.

Appointments should be fun, so we want to make sure our platforms are a safe and comfortable place for our users. We urge any user who has suspicions about someone with whom they have contact or if they find themselves in any of the following situations, to immediately terminate the communication and report the account to the Customer Service team.

Below is a list identified by the fraud / security team with possible related behaviors that should be noted in the Customer Service team.

  • If there is a direct request for external communication within the first messages, mainly via email, WhatsApp, Google Hangouts or Skype.
  • If the suspected scammer asks for contact information because he “downloads his profile”.
  • If the suspect scammer’s message appears to be too general and not personalized.
  • If the suspected scammer uses overly affectionate or charitable language, especially in the early stages of communication.
  • If the message is written with bad grammar and spelling mistakes.
  • If there are requests for money, regardless of the amount.
  • If there are requests to log in to their bank account “for” them.
  • If there are statements stating that the suspected fraudster is currently abroad.
  • If there are statements that the loved one of a suspected scammer is ill or injured and need money to help him.
  • If the suspected scammer justifies why he can not meet in person or FaceTime / Skype.
  • If the user receives an email from a suspected scammer stating that he or she is leaving the site, but his / her friend / colleague / family member has seen the user’s profile and wants the user to contact him / her.
  • You can find additional information on secure online dating on our security pages:

    https://www.zoosk.com/safety
    https://www.silversingles.com/about/safety
    https://www.elitesingles.com/staying-safe
    https://about.christianmingle.com/en/safety-en/

    Thank you for contacting us on this important topic.

    Copyright © 2022 WLS-TV. All rights reserved.



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