From ponzi schemes to organised traps laid to dupe innocent victims, fraudsters tend to come up with innovative tactics. As social media and dating apps have penetrated our lives deeply, conmen and women have started to use them for their nefarious designs. A recently released Netflix documentary The Tinder Swindler is a case in point.
It depicts the infamous story of Simon Leviev who allegedly conned several women across Europe of nearly $10 million dollars. Although we love to believe that this cannot to us. However, to ensure that this doesn’t actually happen to us, we must stay on guard and remain cautious of the extra lengths to which scamsters can go to lay a trap.
Five money lessons this infamous love-to-fraud story teaches us:
1. Beware of red flags: As shown in the documentary, Leviev poses as the son of a billionaire diamond dealer in Israel to one of his victims — Cecilie Fjellhøy, and says that he wants to get to know her better, following which he invites her to board a private jet with him to Bulgaria. This clearly reeks of some nasty plot in the works. It reeks of red flags, that too in overdose.
2. Exercise due caution: Mere searching for your friend’s profile on a search engine is not adequate. It doesn’t take long for conmen to change their name and other details. Fraudsters are adept in all the tricks that can make their scams appear legitimate and convincing.
So, it is important to question everything especially when you’ve only ever met the person online or are unsure of their legitimacy.
3. Don’t rush into making key financial decisions: When someone you meet is trying to manipulate you into taking a quick financial decision at the drop of a hat, you must avoid it at all costs. It would turn out to be a trap.
4. Frauds are commonplace: Be cautious of the prevalence of scams and conmen around you. Be it a Bollywood flick or a web series, a large number of them are inspired from reality. So, what happens in a movie could happen in real life too. And the victim could be anyone – simply anyone. None of us is an exception.
5. Be at an arm’s length of irresistible money offers: If something appears too good to be true then the chances are that it is a farce. Nobody can afford to offer you 10 times of your investment. Whenever you get any such offer from someone you barely know, or knew through the social media, you have all the reason to doubt their intentions – which more often than not — would be malafide.