Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – The Tinder Swindler is one of the highest-grossing documentaries on Netflix that chronicles a love scam on online dating app Tinder. The documentary follows the stories of three women in Europe who become victims of a scam from a man of Israeli origin who uses a false identity as the son of a billionaire.
Not only abroad, story The Tinder Swindler it turns out that this has also happened in Indonesia and cost many victims up to billions of rupiah.
According to The Washington Post, senior matchmaker and vice president of the Three Day Rule, Erika Kaplan, revealed that fraud often occurs because many online dating application users are passive. Thus, someone who appears strong and aggressive will look more attractive.
Assistant dean and assistant professor of finance at Maryville University, Jaime Peters, revealed that fraudsters are getting smarter in carrying out their actions, namely by playing with the feelings of potential victims first.
“They (fraudsters) don’t start their fraud by asking for money. It starts with making the victim feel special to know them,” said Peters, quoted Thursday (31/8/2023).
“They’ll start by paying for something and build a narrative that they can afford a certain lifestyle,” Peters continued.
According to a number of experts, there are some signs of danger from the perpetrators of ‘love fraud’ that must be watched out for and how to avoid them. Anything? Here’s the summary.
Photo: Dating Application illustration. (Doc. Freepik)
1. Don’t Be Lulled by Stories’Too Good to be True‘
At the beginning of fraud cases in online dating applications, the victims were stunned by the perpetrators’ “fairy tales of life”. Usually, perpetrators tell extraordinary things about their lives to gain the trust of victims.
“Victims are figures who want a relationship. Actors who tell life like a fairy tale and treat victims in extraordinary ways make it difficult for victims to separate logic from emotion,” said professor of information systems at Maryland University, Jui Ramaprasad.
“He (the perpetrator) could do this with many women of different origins and did not know each other,” continued Ramaprasad.
A similar case has occurred in Indonesia, Cinta(not his real name) is one of the victims who suffered losses of up to Rp. 1 billion due to the actions of fraudsters claiming to be from Malaysia.
Before becoming a victim of fraud, Cinta told me that the perpetrator named Vincent (not his real name) was a widower and the only child of extraordinarily wealthy parents.
“He (Vincent) claimed to be a Chinese-Malaysian, a widower who had no children, and the only child of wealthy parents who had businesses in Malaysia,” Cinta told CNBC IndonesiaWednesday (23/8/2023).
During two months of intense conversation, Cinta described Vincent as an extraordinary person, such as speaking politely, being able to treat Cinta well, never demanding many things, being able to build quality conversations, and having a mature vision and mission for the future.
Cinta admits that it was these extraordinary things that made her believe in running a business with Vincent. Unfortunately, the business turned out to be a fraudulent mode that made him lose up to IDR 1 billion.
2. Don’t be lulled into sweet promises
Love bomb or love bombing is a manipulation technique commonly used by perpetrators of fraud to ensnare victims. As a passive person, victims will generally be immediately attracted to someone who is aggressive and often makes sweet promises.
“If someone keeps saying “I love you,” “You’re the best person I’ve ever met,” promises to move in together, get married, or have kids, even though they’ve only been dating for a few weeks, walk away immediately, says mental health counselor Joanne Frederick.
Frederick advises every individual not to believe sweet promises from anyone, including couples who have met in person, before being in a relationship for more than three months.
“Three months is a ‘trial period.’ You have to see if these statements are sincere. If things are going too fast, say so. Someone who respects you will listen and adjust,” says Frederick.
“If they keep pushing and doinglove bombingconsistently, move away from the person immediately,” Frederick said.
3. Don’t Ignore Bad Feelings
In movies The Tinder Swindlers, one of the victims of the scam, Cecilie Fjellhoy, had told her friends that she would take a private jet with the perpetrator to Bulgaria.
Hearing this, Fjellhoy’s friends have a bad feeling and ask Fjellhoy to be aware of the potential for being kidnapped. However, Fjellhoy continued to date the perpetrator, Hayut, and suffered a loss of US$200,000 or around IDR3 billion (assuming an exchange rate of IDR15,232/US$).
Learning from that experience, Frederick asks everyone to always listen to friends and family if they warn about a relationship moving too fast.
“Friends and family may notice red flags that you don’t,” says Frederick.
4. Ask for Guarantees
According to Peters, the beginning of the fraud mode by the perpetrators was asking for financial assistance from a very small and reasonable amount. Usually, this mode is done on the grounds that the credit card has problems.
“Perpetrators always have reasonable reasons to carry out their fraud mode. Many people are not aware that this is the beginning of fraud because they already have trust and romantic feelings,” said Peters.
Peters suggests, make a written agreement and get a guarantee if you will give a loan to anyone, including friends and spouses. According to Peters, it can protect you if something bad happens.