If you’ve ever watched the show Catfish, you’re probably full of skepticism when it comes to any form of online dating. That’s completely fair. Sure, you’re on Tinder to meet someone special, chat with some cool people, or maybe just have some casual fun, but the most important thing is looking out for numero uno (yourself).
Unfortunately, on any online dating site, you are going to come across fake profiles. It’s just a part of being online these days. But before we get into all the details, I just want to tell you, that you really shouldn’t worry too much.
If you have your wits about you, read the rest of this article, and aren’t the most gullible person in the world, there’s absolutely no reason to be paranoid. With that being said, there are definitely fake profiles out there with malicious intentions trying to take advantage of you.
On that note, let’s take a look at the telltale signs of how to spot them so you can avoid any fake Tinder profiles you happen to come across.
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How Common Are Fake Tinder Profiles?
Fake profiles are out there – but out of 75 million Tinder users, how many of them are real, and how many are fake?
So how common are fake Tinder profiles? While you will probably see some fake profiles when you’re swiping, it’s definitely a minority. While some people suggest as many as 50% of profiles on Tinder are fake, in my experience, it’s under 10%.
Incredibly, bot traffic now makes up more than half of all internet traffic. The machines are taking over – but they haven’t taken over Tinder yet!
Can You Have A Fake Tinder Profile?
First of all, why would you want this? Maybe you want to dip your toes into Tinder without getting wet, or you’re planning a hilarious prank… well…
Can you have a fake Tinder profile? No. Tinder’s terms and conditions specifically prevent any kind of profile that impersonates someone else or misrepresents who you are.
My advice? Don’t start a fake Tinder profile. Aside from the ethics around misleading people online, you’ll just find yourself banned. If your phone number or social media handles get blocked, resetting your account can be a real pain.
The 5 Types Of Fake Profiles
Generally, you could categorize any profiles that aren’t the person they claim to be into 5 different categories.
Out of all the fake Tinder profiles out there, bots are the most common. A Tinder bot is a computer program used to message you on Tinder trying to trick you into thinking they are a real person.
Most of the time they will automatically send a few messages followed by a dangerous link. And thanks to the rise of AI they will frequently try to be a little smarter, using predicted responses based on keywords you’ve used in your messages, to replicate a more back-and-forth conversation.
Bots may be the most common, but they are also by far the easiest to spot. Don’t click on any suspicious links, or any links whatsoever if it’s a source website you don’t already trust.
2. Human-controlled Fake Profile With An Agenda
This one will be a lot harder to catch out because there will be an actual human controlling the messages. This will be someone trying to push a certain agenda, whether that’s a service, product, or scam.
3. Lonely Catfish
This one is a little more on the sad side. Basically, this would be someone who might be lonely, and obviously quite self-conscious, and just wants to chat.
It’s not very dangerous in the essence of immediate impact, but if you haven’t seen the show or movie Catfish then you don’t know how these lying people can mess with other people’s lives!
4. Dangerous Catfish
This one is the most messed up. I definitely don’t want to scare you away from using Tinder, but it’s important to address this. This would be someone pretending to be someone else; trying to plan a meet-up with god knows what intentions.
5. Impersonation Account
While fake profiles and catfishes are impersonating a fictional person, there’s one other type of fake Tinder account to consider – the impersonation account.
The impersonation account is a fake profile of a real person. It could be a celebrity (which you should see right through) or someone the faker knows in real life. Impersonation accounts should be reported to Tinder.
What A Fake Tinder Profile Wants With You
Once you know exactly what these fake Tinder profiles would be looking for, it will definitely make it easier to spot them and take necessary action to avoid them at all costs. Let’s look at the top reasons and agendas these fake profiles are targeting people in the first place.
- Financial gain
- To push a service, product or business
- Trying to get you to download dangerous malware
- Get your personal details for identity theft
- To mess with you (yep, there are people out there like this)
- To make themselves feel better (lonely Catfish)
- It could be a form of bullying for the person being impersonated (with impersonation accounts)
How To Tell If a Tinder Profile Is Fake
I have used Tinder for years in multiple different countries and am telling you right now, I Have seen every Tinder bot, scam, and fake profile there is. Luckily for you guys, I can now spot them from a mile away. Knowing how to tell if a Tinder profile is fake will keep you safe online – and give you the confidence to engage meaningfully with your matches.
Let’s look at some of the telltale signs that who you’re speaking to isn’t who they claim to be.
2. Their profile is hiding their distance and/or age: sure, this can be completely normal for some, but if this is yet another thing missing from their profile, you may be dealing with a bot or someone located overseas ready to scam you.
3. Celebrity profile pictures: I think this one speaks for itself. If you have a feeling you recognize that person from somewhere and most of their pictures are either professional or from a red carpet, swipe left.
4. There are random links in their bio: an unexplainable link with no context in their bio should send you swiping left, fast.
5. They don’t use fantastic grammar in their bio or messages: generally, this will be because the person using the account, or the person that programmed the bot is abroad and English isn’t their first language. Of course, not everyone speaks flawless English – but if their messages are hard to make sense of, it’s a red flag.
6. They only have one photo: definitely doesn’t always mean they’re a fake Tinder profile, but this is usually just one of many red flags.
7. The conversation doesn’t flow normally and their replies don’t make sense: if you start throwing out some questions and your match just blatantly ignores them or their responses are just complete nonsense and have nothing to do with your last message, you are most likely dealing with a bot. Know the difference between bot speak and a typical Tinder conversation.
8. They reply extremely fast (faster than a human possibly could): it would be pretty difficult to send a series of messages inviting someone to join a website in 0.003 seconds…
9. They want to move the conversation off Tinder: usually, they will ask you to join a strange app that no one really uses, like Kik. This has red flags written all over it.
10. They send a random link early in the conversation: again, ask yourself why any normal person would want to send you a random link within the first few messages.
11. Their profile is overly sexual: if their Tinder photos look like a pre-scene photoshoot from Brazzers, chances are the profile’s fake.
12. They spontaneously give you a strange-looking phone number: if a girl all of a sudden asks you to text her on a number that doesn’t have the same area code, yet her profile says she’s close, something’s up.
13. Things in their profile don’t match up: for example, if they have their Instagram listed and the username has their name in it, and that name doesn’t match with their name on Tinder, they are most likely a bot.
14. They invite you to view them on a cam website: this one is very prevalent. The whole “join my cam show so I can see you’re real and then I’ll come hang out with you” is bull crap. Even if there’s that little part of you that wants to see them naked on a cam show, having your identity or credit card details stolen probably isn’t worth it.
15. They strictly have professional photos: every now and then you will come across someone who is actually a model or just takes lots of professional photos, but the giveaway is if all of their photos are like this. If so, they’ve probably been stolen from a model’s Instagram. Alternatively, they use obvious stock photos taken in a studio. Caveat: they might just be using my Tinder photo tips and really look that damn good.
16. Seems a little too good to be true: hate to say it, but if you have a gut feeling that it’s too good to be true, chances are it is. Don’t get me wrong, dude, you are going to match with girls that you maybe thought were out of your league, but if a bikini model matches with you and then tells you she is horny, chances are it’s a fake.
17. Immediate invite for a long-term relationship: on the flip side of the above, sometimes a bot will ask you straight away to jump into a long-term relationship. Because, you would do anything for your girl, right? Including giving them your credit card details, social security, etc.
18. Ask you to send money, gift cards, or gifts: no matter how smitten you think your match is with you, do not send her money or anything close to it. Besides the fact that sending a girl money or gifts before meeting them is pretty desperate, you run the risk of having your credit card details stolen.
19. Invite you to have “some fun” straight away: again, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. If she starts dirty-talking and asking you to come over straight away, 9 times out of 10, something isn’t right.
20. Obvious “bot speak”: if the messages appear almost like code, or emojis are spelled out rather than just used, it’s probably a bot with some poor programming.
21. Pictures are obviously very old: there are a few giveaways for this. Their photos will all be ridiculously grainy and they may feature flip phone selfies. Sometimes, bots will use people’s old MySpace photos or something to make it more difficult to search.
22. Pictures are cropped strangely: if your match has multiple photos where half her face is chopped off, chances are it was uploaded by a bot.
Keep in mind that you will have matches that might fit one or two of the above criteria. Don’t stress. If you talk to a girl who seems completely normal but doesn’t have a bio, don’t freak out and assume she’s a bot. Use the above as a guideline, but don’t get too paranoid.
Rules to Avoid Being Duped by a Fake Tinder Profile
Some of the above seem incredibly obvious, and if you are at least semi-Internet literate, you should be able to avoid all fake Tinder profiles. Although, every now and then some do slip through the cracks and you will find yourself talking to a bot, catfish, or scammer.
The important thing is that even if this happens, you don’t follow through with what they are trying to achieve. I mean, it’s harmless to receive a couple of messages from a bot, but not so harmless when you have malware hacking your device.
So it’s imperative that you follow these rules at all times to avoid being duped by one of these fake Tinder profiles.
Never click any random links sent to you: this is how these fake profiles will be able to upload harmful malware onto your device, which could cause irreparable damage.
Don’t ever give money to anyone on any online dating site: no matter how much you might feel you trust this person, or what the reason may be for sending this money, you are not going to be the smooth knight in shining armor, you will be on the receiving end of a scam.
Check out the Tinder Safety Centre: Tinder has put together a hub for online safety and it’s accessible through the app from your Settings, as well as when you report someone.
Never give personal details to anyone: I think this is an obvious one, but you’d be surprised. If for whatever reason you’ve ignored my above advice and ended up on a website from a link your match has sent, do not enter credit card details (or any details for that matter) anywhere.
No matter how legit it might feel, your info could be subject to identity theft, putting you in a world of trouble.
If you have any suspicions, search your matches pictures in Google: These days it’s so easy to search an actual image to see if it has been taken from another location on the web. You can do this in Google images using the icon highlighted below.
If you still have any suspicions ask your match to verify their identity: This doesn’t have to be an interrogation if you have a tiny inkling your match is someone else. You can politely and not intrusively verify that your match isn’t actually some dude in Nigeria. Find out how below.
How to Verify a Tinder Profile
Ask to see their social media accounts: If their Instagram is attached to their profile and not private, you don’t even need to ask. Make sure you look at how long they have been active on Instagram and how many followers they have. It might be a little fishy if they have few followers and only started their account a week ago.
If you’ve been chatting for a while then any avoidance of showing you an established social media account that has been going for more than a month or two should be a major red flag.
Ask for their Snapchat: The reason this can easily be a way to verify the identity of your match is that they can send you a picture in real-time. It tells you when a photo has been sent from their camera roll rather than taken live.
FaceTime or Skype: If you’re still really unsure, to be pretty much 100% you could ask to FaceTime or Skype – video chats pretty much can’t be faked. If they appear to be making excuses like their webcam is broken – red flag.
Does Tinder Verify Fake Profiles?
Tinder’s verification system awards a blue tick to profiles that have passed photo verification. In theory, this means that the person behind every profile should match the pictures that they upload.
But does Tinder verify fake profiles? In practice, Tinder verification can be faked if someone poses as another person during the photo verification submission. The system isn’t perfect but a blue check mark does provide additional security.
So if you see a blue tick, you can be reassured they are probably who they say they are. But I’d still recommend checking social media and arranging a quick video call before you go on an actual date.
How to Report a Fake Tinder Profile
Here’s a step-by-step guide to reporting fake Tinder profiles if you’ve already matched:
- Press the red flag in the top right corner.
2. Press ‘Report & Unmatch’.
3. Select “This is a fake profile” and press “Next”.
4. Tinder will prompt you to tell them what happened – answer anonymously and hit Submit.
1. Tap the small arrow to open up their full profile.
2. Scroll to the bottom of their profile and press ‘Report’.
3. When prompted for the reason for reporting, select “This is a fake profile” and hit “Next”.
Known Tinder Scams
In 2016, a scam was floating around Tinder asking users to verify their identity, which I find kind of ironic now. A bot would start sending flirty messages and then quite soon into the conversation ask their match to verify their identity by clicking a link.
The bot would send a message along the lines of “verify yourself before I meet you so I know you are who you say lol.” The link would direct the user to a site called “Tinder Safe Dating.”
Long story short, the site would trick the user into giving up their credit card details, and then subsequently use those details to join a series of free trials to porn sites.
Those free trials turned into paid subscriptions if the user didn’t catch on and cancel them before the trial ended, charging their credit card roughly US$120 per month.
This scam hasn’t been around for a long time now, but it just gives you an idea of the lengths people go to and the intricate detail that can be involved in these scams. Stay safe and know how to spot a scammer on Tinder.
Good News About Tinder Bots and Fake Profiles
The good news is Tinder is constantly spending the big bucks to ensure spam and scams stay off your swiping screen. I can tell you with confidence that we have moved past the worst years of fake Tinder profiles.
Sure, some might pop up now and then, but Tinder is more vigilant than ever to take any of these fake profiles down before they can cause too much damage.
And to be honest, guys, if you keep some common sense and trust your gut, you really shouldn’t find yourself getting scammed by anyone. If you are ready to avoid fake profiles and get some real matches, check out my 6-Step Tinder Tune-Up. It’s a completely free, all-in-one Tinder profile level-up.