Tinder swindlers break wallets as well as hearts

Vietnam has seen a tremendous boom in Tinder users during and after the pandemic. — VNS

HANOI (Vietnam News/Asia News Network): Tinder is tremendously popular in Vietnam, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic. Although Tinder has been the catalyst for many love stories, some are using the app for reasons outside of finding the one.

The backlash is so strong that many young Vietnamese are saying "You can't find real love on Tinder".

Truong Tan, 30, was using Tinder for two years before he was swindled out of VNĐ3 million (US$126).

"She said she came from a well-educated family, had a police father and a teacher mother," said Tan.

After some conversations and dates, the girl started to share about her "hard life", which Tan later learned was all fabricated.

As the woman got closer to Tấn, she asked him to pay for her purchases and loan her VNĐ5 million (US$211).

"She promised to return the money soon but kept on delaying. She later returned me VNĐ2 million (US$84.5), but disappeared with the rest of the money," said Tấn.

Later on, when Tan posted warnings on social media groups, many other people also confirmed that the same woman used the dating app for scams.

"One more thing to note is that at the time I was deceived, she was pregnant and still married," Tấn added.

That was the first and only time Tan was deceived through a dating app. However, he said he had experienced other types of scams, such as colluding with a restaurant to lure customers for overcharging.

​"She arranged to meet me at a place where she seemed very familiar and proficient with the menu, then ordered a lot of expensive alcohol and suggested ordering expensive dishes. I asked for more information based on what she had declared before, but she couldn't answer.

" I was suspicious, so after the first round of ordering, I stopped. That time, we ate at a regular restaurant, but the wine price was three times higher than that in the supermarkets," Tan recalled.

Like Tan, Hanoian Do Son also fell victim to a scam by a girl he had never met before.

When Son started messaging to get acquainted, the girl claimed to be an actor filming an advertisement in Ha Giang.

"She said the weather there was harsh, and while shooting, she got a virus fever and needed to borrow money from me to buy medicine. A few days later, she asked for money again to buy things. I lent her money on both occasions," said Son.

But on the third request when the girl asked to borrow VNĐ1 million (US$42), Son didn't have any money to lend. When the girl returned to Hanoi, Son arranged to meet her, but she insisted on borrowing 1 million before the meeting.

"When I told her I didn't have any money to lend, she started blaming me. I asked her to return the money from the previous two times, and she said men are calculative, then she said, 'I don't lack wealthy men,' and unfriended me.

"After a few times of me demanding the money back, she made empty promises and cut off contact, leaving me feeling deceived," Son recalled with regret.

Not only do they deceive people into borrowing money, but there are also numerous other scams that users of dating apps often encounter.

HCMC native Nha Van once encountered a cunning scammer with a sophisticated scheme that she never expected.

"This guy had a handsome appearance, he was politely mannered, and seemed knowledgeable about financial investment. He presented himself as the owner of an interior design company in Hong Kong. He even gained my trust by sharing stories of his unfortunate childhood - his parents' divorce and having to live with his grandmother. I was even moved to tears by his story," said Van.

According to Van, this person was very proactive in wooing her, initiating video calls. After a week of persistent pursuit, he constantly talked about how he had made a lot of money from cryptocurrencies, even showing his account balance and boasting about earning VNĐ60-70 million (US$2,500 - 3,000) in a single day.

Afterwards, he expressed a desire to guide her to achieve financial prosperity like himself. He told her not to bother researching anything because even with explanations, she wouldn't understand, and instead, she should just follow his lead to gradually comprehend. And the initial investment amount required was US$500.

When Nha Van refused to invest, the person started to sulk and then enticed her by suggesting that she learn these skills to eventually take over his work. However, she firmly declined. From that point on, he disappeared and no longer wooed her.

Curious, she decided to investigate and discovered that many other girls had been lured by him using similar tactics.

"One girl agreed to participate with a US$100 investment. After more than two months, she realised she had been deceived. Then he created another fake account to terrorise her, threatening to share all the things she had confided in him with her friends and family. This girl also shared with me stories of dozens of scammers who specialise in persuading girls to invest in cryptocurrencies, just like what I unwittingly encountered."

Nha Van revealed that these individuals would woo their targets until they were infatuated before bringing up the topic of investment and money.

"Because once there are emotions and trust involved, not everyone remains clear-headed."

As for Truong Tan, he learned from his experience: "Nowadays, new forms of fraud are constantly emerging, so the best way to avoid being deceived is to be cautious with money and not let relationships become too involved with financial matters too early. Those who have ulterior motives will quickly lose interest and move on."

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Vietnam , Tinder , swindlers , scam


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