Tinder Porn Bots Scam Lonely Hearts

Getting scammed online is embarrassing enough, but getting scammed by a robot is a whole other level of humiliating.

Picture this: You're on Tinder, swiping through attractive ladies, looking for your true love (or your next regrettable hookup; we're not here to judge). A sultry match sends you some intriguing messages, but before she continues the conversation, she wants to make sure you're a verified user. You follow the instructions, and before you know it, you're dishing out $120 per month to skeevy porn sites.

Credit: TinderCredit: Tinder

The Symantec Official Blog, courtesy of Mountain View, California-based security firm Symantec, covered the issue, which is simply a new spin on the longstanding practice of porn bots screwing people out of money on dating sites. "Female" bots on Tinder match with lonely men, then insist that said men get verified before they can meet up.

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Experienced Tinder uses will know right away that this is a crock, poor spelling and stiff language aside. Tinder does indeed have verified profiles, but they're only for celebrities and athletes who use the platform for a social-media boost. Average users have no need for verification, and Tinder doesn't offer it for them anyway.

That alone should raise alarm bells about the bots' links, which lead to a site called Tinder Safe Dating. The site claims that the service is free, and offers photos of scantily clad women to sweeten the deal. The verification process requires only a username, email address and password — and a credit-card number, which the fine print explains will sign users up for "free trials" of three different porn sites. After seven days, those sites cost $118.76 per month.

The scam is neither inventive, nor particularly clever, nor very dangerous. There's no malware involved, and there are plenty of red flags that should make it clear to relatively careless users that something about the process is fishy. On the bright side, there's no evidence that anyone’s actually fallen for it.

Scammer bots on dating sites are a fact of life, and as long as they keep making money in some capacity, they're not going away. Just remember that if anyone — real or fake — on a dating app starts asking about financial information, she's probably more interested in your wallet than your company.

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