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Malware scam targets Tinder and other dating-site users

Be wary of any “match” who sends you links or recommends continuing chats on other websites

Photo © Tinder
Tinder users beware: the Better Business Bureau has issued warnings about a malware scam targeting you.

Any dating-site user is at risk of “romance scams” or “marriage scams,” also known as “catfishing”: the victim enrolls in an online dating site; they meet a supposed soul mate with whom they exchange frequent phone calls and online chats (although they never actually met face to face); the scammer claims to be in love and then starts citing sob stories which can only be alleviated if the victim sends money.

Such scams are common enough on all dating sites that the Better Business Bureau offers site-specific tips explaining “How to spot spam profiles on Tinder” or other places.

Newest scam variant

But this latest Tinder scam is a bit different from ordinary catfishing. Tinder is similar to a “standard” dating service, helping you find theoretically compatible possible matches based on your stated interests and whatnot, with the added advantage of geographical compatibility. As a Tinder user, you program in a certain geographic radius, and then the app will let you know about possible matches in your immediate area.

When you see a picture of a possible match, you swipe the picture to the left if you're not interested, and to the right if you are. This swiping is done anonymously, so you don't know who used a left-swipe to show disinterest in you, and those you rejected by swiping to the left won't know about you, either. If you right-swipe someone who also right-swipes you, Tinder considers that a “match” and “introduces” the two of you for a chat.

But catfishers who falsely proclaim love and then ask you for money aren't the only scammers on Tinder. Another danger, as the BBB has noted, is scammers who meet people on Tinder and then suggest taking the online chat to another website – usually a site filled with malware and spam.

Be extra-skeptical if you meet a “match” on Tinder, and he or she starts sending you links or suggesting you visit other websites. You should also be wary of anyone who asks for your mailing address, supposedly to send you flowers or a gift. Of course, these warnings aren't exclusive to Tinder; subscribers to any dating site should always be on the lookout for a scam.

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