Hook, Line and Tinder: Scammers Love Dating Apps

Hook, Line and Tinder: Scammers Love Dating Apps

Last month, Kristin Shotwell, 21, was walking home from class when her friend told her that he had seen her profile pop up on Tinder while visiting the University of Georgia in Athens.

There was one problem: Shotwell, a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, had been nowhere near Athens at the time and had never signed up for Tinder. Still, she shrugged it off, until her friends sent her a screen shot of a girl named “Kim.”

“That is when it hit home, when I saw my face on a bio that had nothing to do with me,” Shotwell told NBC News.

Romance scams are nothing new, but the rise of social media has made it even easier for modern criminals to stitch together believable personas from publicly available photos and bits of information. Shotwell said that the photos that her friends saw on Tinder were were images she had posted on Facebook, which she has since made private.

In 2012, online dating scams – at least the ones that were reported – cost Americans more than $55 million, according to statistics from the multi-agency Internet Crime Complaint Center.

“The emotions that they display range from anger to severe sadness and depression, and often times they criticize themselves for being duped out of their money.”

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