Users of Tinder, the massively popular location-based dating app, are being targeted with a clever scam that may make them lose over a $100 per month.
The Tinder safe dating scam
The scam is perpetrated by spam bots impersonating lovely women, initiating chats with users, then asking them to make Tinder verify their account.
“While online dating has gone mainstream, safety concerns still remain when using these applications. The spammers use this legitimate concern to convince users to verify themselves and trick them into thinking verification will lead to a date,” says Symantec’s Satnam Narang.
“After asking if the user is verified, the spam bot tries to disarm the user by saying ‘it’s a free service tinder put up, to verify the person you wanna meet isn’t a serial killer lol’.'”
Users who fall for the scheme are directed to a site that looks like it might be associated with Tinder – a copy-cat logo is displayed, and the font is the same one used by the app. (Symantec found 13 distinct “Tinder Safe Dating” scam sites so far.)
To verify the account, they are asked to fill out a form with their username, password, email address, and credit card details:
The claim that this service is “$0.00 No Charge!” is repeated prominently a couple of times, but as is usual with these scams, the devil is in the details: the fine print at the bottom tells users that they get free trial memberships to three adult services, but also that if they don’t cancel them in time, they will be billed automatically each month for the memberships.
All in all, the victims stand to lose $118.76 per month – quite a hefty sum. The scammers, of course, get a commission for each user they trick into signing up.
Aside from that, victims have also shared their Tinder username and password, as well as complete credit card details with the scammers – it’s a sure bet that this information will eventually be misused.
How to protect yourself and others
Anything that’s extremely popular – a game, an online service, a social network – will attract its fair share of scammers trying to cash in on a wide audience of possible targets.
To keep yourself safe while using them you should keep yourself informed on what the services do and do not offer, various related scams, and always read the fine print.
To keep other users safe, report scammy accounts.