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Heartbroken and Broke – Why Women Fall Prey to The Tinder Swindler

Heartbroken and Broke Why Women Fall Prey to The Tinder Swindler

Heartbroken and Broke – Why Women Fall Prey to The Tinder Swindler

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

This popular expression is easy to say in judgement of someone who has made an apparently foolish decision.

But judgement is neither helpful or fair when it comes to the actions taken by victims of romance fraud.

Because when people are lonely, they’re vulnerable. And unfortunately, there are hundreds of unscrupulous, unsavoury and downright immoral individuals out there just waiting to pounce on susceptible victims.

We might say smugly to ourselves, “How on earth did they fall for that?” or “Why would you send money to someone you hardly know or had never met?”

These sentiments are easy when you’re not the one feeling angry, ashamed, embarrassed and humiliated at having been taken for a fool.

But the reality is there are hundreds, if not thousands of (mainly) women who are swept off their feet by the seductive charms of these career swindlers.

Globally, South Africa ranks 18th on the romance fraud list, with 190 reported incidents, amounting to an overall loss of $9.4 million.

That’s an average of $49 200 lost per victim.

We’re not talking small change here.

And of course, reported incidents are likely only the tip of the iceberg – many victims are simply too ashamed to come forward.

Hopefully, the significant media attention on the so-called “Tinder Swindler” Simon Leviev, and South Africa’s very own version, Amon Namara, will serve as large warnings to vulnerable people about the dangers of falling too hard and too fast for professional conmen whose only agenda is to relieve you not of your loneliness, but of your hard-earned cash.

And lots of it.

As with most romance fraud, the swindlers find their victims online, mainly via dating apps.

In the case of Amon Namara – who is alleged to have conned at least three women – he posed on Tinder as a millionaire who owned luxury vehicles and several high-end properties in Johannesburg.

Namara’s modus operandi was to take women on breath-taking dates, seducing them with his charm and lavish lifestyle.

Little did they know that lifestyle was funded by the ill-gotten gains from other victims.

One of whom is a wealthy mother of two who signed up on Tinder after her previous relationship ended. When she first met Namara, she described him as a “sweetheart.”

Only a few months later, he told her he was having cash flow issues and needed to borrow R15 000, which he promised to repay by the weekend.

Naturally, he never did.

Instead, he continued to con her out of more money, including R52 000 in cash and over R60 000 in stock from her clothing boutique.

After she shared her experience on social media, other women came forward with similar stories.

Namara was recently arrested in Sandton on charges of money laundering, fraud and theft.

The “original” Tinder Swindler, Simon Leviev, was convicted in December 2019 of theft, fraud, and forgery of documents in Israel, but these charges stemmed from activities in 2011 that were unrelated to the countess incidences of romance fraud he has allegedly committed across Europe.

He has yet to be brought up on charges for these incidents and is currently living as a free man in Israel, having served only five months of his 15-month sentence.

Sadly, these Tinder scams are just one of the ways in which women are left heartbroken and, in many cases, broke or even in debt, after falling for fraudsters online.

The internet makes it so easy for people to find love at the click of a button. And, in many cases, they find genuine romance and live happily ever after.

But far too often, the men who appear to be the long-awaited Prince Charming actually turn out to be Kings of the Con.

Warning Signs

If you’re aware of the warning signs, these fraudsters are easy to spot, because their modus operandi always follow certain patterns:

They’re always far away from where you live

Scammers often pose as people in the military on deployment in a far-away country, as workers on oil rigs, or doctors working for international aid organisations.

Their profile seems too good to be true

Be aware of photos of exceptionally good-looking people living incredibly opulent lifestyles. Watch out for red flags such as a very brief dating profile, with few, if any, details. Sometimes they customise their profiles so all their interests and hobbies are the same as yours. There aren’t usually links to other social media profiles, such as Facebook or LinkedIn.

They move very quickly

Scammers know the longer they take to seduce you, the more likely it is you’ll catch on to their tactics. So, they move hard and fast, often professing their love for you after a few days. They may also propose marriage after a very short time, make promises to meet you, and suggest moving your communication off the dating app as soon as possible, such as onto WhatsApp or text messages.

They claim they need money

This is the biggest red flag of them all. Requests for money are often for alleged medical expenses, such as surgery, travel expenses (plane tickets or visas), family emergencies, or gambling debts. There is usually a huge sob story accompanying these requests, which always tugs at the heart strings of the woman being conned.

Be especially wary when requests for money are accompanied by very specific instructions on how the money is to be paid. Warning signs include preloaded gift cards and wire transfers. An alternate method is asking you to open a new bank account in your name, into which they deposit a large sum of money. They will then ask you to send the money on to a third party. A request like this is very likely linked to money laundering.

Messages that sound “off”

Look out for messages that feel as though they are a copy and paste from other conversations. When your communication doesn’t flow, feel natural or make sense, beware! Bad spelling and grammar are also massive red flags. And if you’ve arranged to have an online video call but your suitor keeps their camera off – sound the alarm bells.

What can you do to protect yourself?

It’s easy to say things like, “use your common sense,” or “if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it’s most likely a duck.” But when emotions are involved, it’s not always easy to be objective or rational.

Essentially, the two most important rules are:

  1. NEVER send money or intimate photos of yourself to someone you’ve never met, or aren’t completely sure of.
  2. ALWAYS use an abundance of caution – do your homework, find other “evidence” on social media that the person is who they say they are.

Here’s a handy tip:

Do a reverse image search. Right click on the person’s image, then click “copy.” Go to and paste the image.

If the image shows up on multiple websites, on a stock photo site, or seems to belong to someone other than the person you think you’re talking to, it’s probably a fake photo and you’re being scammed.

Women all over the world are being conned by romance fraudsters every day. PLEASE be careful. Do your homework, tell your friends about your new online love and listen to their opinions, and try to be objective.

Everyone deserves love and happiness. No one deserves to be scammed in an attempt to find it.