How Not to Get Swindled on Tinder (and Other Dating Apps)


Fake profiles, dated pictures and false bios. The key online dating behaviours that waste time and wreck long term prospects.

It’s widely acknowledged that dating apps are rife with deception - indeed, more than 10% of all profiles are thought to be fake profiles, catfishes, or scammers. Aside from this, many users are tempted to share outdated photos, false information regarding their age or profession, and a dating minefield of other dishonest embellishments. But why?

To avoid being swindled, here are three key dating behaviours to look out for - which you should also avoid using yourself:

Filtered or Outdated Pictures

People who are insecure are more likely to upload a profile picture which is heavily filtered, or simply not a true reflection of their current self. But while we may be sympathetic to confidence issues or even competitiveness within the dating pool, some situations are clearly attempts at misinterpretation, and are less forgivable.

If you’ve started talking to a potential match and they claim not to have any recent pictures, then this should be a red flag. It’s 2022. Taking a selfie and uploading it now takes mere moments – so if your date isn’t willing to do that bare minimum, they may not be worth investing your time in.

Founder of Reddi, Stacy Thomson comments, “It’s very common for people to want to show off their best features when they’re building their dating app profile. Often, this can cause them to upload a photo of themselves when they looked and felt their best – but this may not necessarily be reflective of their life in its current state.

If you suspect that a profile picture is out of date due to its quality or other background clues, then you are likely to be right. It’s possible that the person is in fact painfully aware of the discrepancy, but is lacking in confidence - thinking that this picture will effectively give them ‘the best chance’ of securing a swipe, conversation or date. This is done through fear of rejection, but can damage longer term prospects.”

Exaggerated Bios

Similarly, a user might be tempted to write a bio that is overly boastful, exaggerates popularity or evidence of excessive wealth. You should always be mindful of completely fake profiles (and that’s why The Tinder Swindler has become Netflix’s most watched documentary!), but can also be a sign that the user feels they need to overcompensate.

A certain degree of ‘enhancing’ your dating images and bio has now become the norm – but the sad truth is, that this does very little apart from waste precious time, both for yourself and your prospective partner. You should trust your gut instinct. If details regarding their profession, lifestyle or earnings have been embellished – or indeed, if you’re tempted to exaggerate your own - it can become highly difficult to manage expectations as the relationship progresses.

Reluctance to Meet in Person

Imagine a first date with someone who you can’t even recognise once you’re finally face-to-face? This is one of the reasons why someone who you may have hit it off with online might suddenly become less enthusiastic when you suggest meeting up on person: because they are aware that they have mislead you.

This can be damaging. You may feel that your trust has already been broken, and that the investment of your time was a waste. In some cases, you may have invested weeks or even months ‘getting to know’ this person, so it can feel like a type of betrayal.

Expert Stacy continues, “There can be pitfalls to dating in a digital age, but the good news is that complete transparency is now becoming a priority for online daters. More and more dating platforms have verification processes to ensure that people are who they say they are, and that profiles and pictures and as authentic as possible.

Honesty really is the only policy when you are looking for genuine connections and long term relationship success.”