Tinder is a dating app that instantly connects you to hundreds of other singles in your immediate area, just by swiping right. Users are set up with other potential candidates when they mutually swipe right on each other’s profile photo and decide the rest of their profile is similarly intriguing. Messages start, meetings are arranged and love is bound to blossom! Unfortunately, Tinder has recently been infiltrated with a multitude of people…who aren’t exactly who they say they are.
It’s a casual daters number one fear. You find an amazingly beautiful partner, apparently have a ton in common and your arranged meeting is suddenly drawn to a halt when the person who shows up, either isn’t who you thought they were, or doesn’t show up at all. You’ve been catfished. A relatively new term, this means that you have been intentionally lured into relations with someone online, and this person either possesses a stolen or fake identity. The rise of identity theft is something that is affecting more of our generation, an unfortunate consequence of initiating conversations based on online photos. Of course, Tinder is a dating app and if we’re going to be honest here, most users will swipe right based on appearance as they’re not given much else to work with.
And so, hacking companies, ad robots and the mentally unwell are taking advantage of the fact that an attractive photo can be used to initiate a conversation. I’ve unfortunately had two friends who have both been victims of identity theft through Tinder. Both of them were notified in the same way, when a friend of a friend spotted their photo and realized the descriptions were fake. Most of the time, names are changed, the perpetrator is from a country foreign from your own and they don’t offer much in terms of conversation. Often the photo’s are stolen in order for a company to direct potential matches elsewhere. On some occasions though, identity theft can go further than just stealing someone else’s images. This article talks about a woman who was notified that a large majority of her photos were being stolen and passed off as someone else’s real life. This person had imagined a life fairly identical to the victim’s, even going so far as to create fake profile’s for every bystander in her stolen photo’s. This particular con artist managed to convince a slew of men that they were deep in an online relationship (with the woman she was fabricating).
This isn’t quite a new phenomena, identity theft has always been a problem on social media sites. The documentary Catfish tells the story of a reporter who begins an online relationship with a family friend through Facebook. After exchanging thousands of messages and arranging meetings, it becomes apparent that the woman he had been messaging does not exist and it was merely a hoax designed by a bored housewife.
Given all of the different social media platforms where photos are featured, my only advice is to review each and every one’s privacy clauses. If you can limit your personal accounts so you have the maximum privacy from potential identity theft, than the trouble is worth it. Who knows where these fake accounts are leading people and how it will affect your reputation. Have you ever been a victim of identity theft on social media?