A few years ago I came across an article of a scammer who managed to milk women for a lot of money. He pretended to be rich, the chicks got dollar signs in their eyes, and when he pretended that he was in dire straits, they happily wired him tens of thousands of dollars, sometimes many times over. I recalled this story when I read about a new Netflix documentary with the title “The Tinder Swindler” the other day. As it turned out, it is based on that very story, which made me curious enough to watch it, as the documentary promised that we would get to hear the heart-wrenching story of those poor, poor women.
I warmly recommend watching “The Tinder Swindler” as it is genuinely insightful. The story is easy to tell: the main protagonist is a Jewish scammer who invented multiple personalities. On his Instagram account as well as on Tinder, he shows off his wealth. One of his personalities is being the son of a billionaire who is in the diamond business. Apparently, he deliberately matches with professionally successful, but not overly successful, women who are past their due date. These women are single and when they see an apparent high-roller show interest in them, they quickly fall in love. On a related note, it seems that this guy also dates young, attractive women, but it is not clear if he scams them for money, too. Probably the scam is based around milking those older women for money, which enables his lifestyle.
The first date is in a five-star hotel, and, of course, those women tend to spread their legs happily as they are so much in love. Expensive trips follow but sooner or later this fake billionaire hits up those women for a lot of money, and they seem to comply happily. They got a taste of a high-end lifestyle that may have cost a few thousands dollars and hints at a lot more money to be enjoyed in the future. This is the hook. Then they wire this guy essentially the equivalent of several years’ worth of income, supposedly helping him out in a pickle, so that they can then enjoy the billionaire lifestyle together again in the future. This is essentially what it boils down to, and it is really as stupid as it sounds.
Most amazingly, those women seem to be unable to think rationally. They happily recount stories about the “great connection” they had with this guy who, based on the text messages and videos shown in the documentary, communicated like a semi-retard, but all those women needed to hear was, “good morning my love”, “love you lots”, “miss you”, and “I want to have many babies with you”, peppered with spelling mistakes and countless emojis. Some of those exchanges made me laugh as they were so comical. One of the women says that she was “dating” this scammer for 14 months, and she seems to think little of needing to send him tends of thousands of dollars in frequent intervals.
The documentary is set up to make you feel sorry for those women who ended up financially ruining themselves. Yet, when you hear one of them say that she “still wanted it to be true”, after she was driven into bankruptcy, you seriously wonder if this woman would not have been much better off with a legal custodian all her life. Later in the documentary, we learn that those victims collaborated with the police to catch the scammer. This also led to the aforementioned big story that made international news. One of those women complains then about the harsh responses those stories got online, where the victims were accused of being gold diggers. She says, while crying, that all she did was “trying to help people” and adds that she “is not a gold digger because she did not get any money”. This gave me a good chuckle as it is quite obvious that without the display of wealth none of those women would have met up with this guy in the first place.
There is also some unintentional humor in the documentary. I wrote earlier that the scammer is Jewish. Israeli police helped in the investigation, and when the story broke, there was a story on Israeli TV where the presenter, with a smug grin, says that “not all Jewish men are like that”, the NAJALT charge. Just like with the NAWALT charge, the issue is that apparently enough of them “are like that”. Well, I am not making any accusations here but merely point out the obvious.
Unfortunately, the documentary is somewhat shallow. I only spoke of the scammer and his victims. Yet, it is obvious that such an elaborate scam requires significant efforts. We learn of the scammer’s “business partner” as well as the “body guard”. My initial thought was that this is an elaborate operation where the scammer matching with women on Tinder is perhaps only the figurehead whereas the other two, and perhaps more people of whom we do not know anything, are pulling the strings in the background. Note that the others partook in the same lifestyle yet did not expose themselves to the same risks. Law enforcement seems to have shown little interest in them either.
Netflix published a companion podcast episode with the creators of the documentary, all women. I only made it halfway through as I had to stop when they were talking about how this scammer was “totally out of the league of those gorgeous women”. The guy was not particularly good-looking but this is hardly needed if you can convince women that you are the son of a billionaire. Sure, they can avoid addressing the elephant in the room all they want but it would help women a lot more if they were made aware of their emotional vulnerability. One of the chicks in the movie boasts about having more than 1,000 Tinder matches, while claiming that she is a “hopeless romantic”. In reality, she is just desperate and clings onto the fantasy of being able to bag a billionaire, and her desperation is so great that her ability to think critically shut down completely. We should probably have a societal discussion about the deplorable situation of single, childless women in their 30s who still dream of love. The documentary “The Tinder Swindler” sadly missed this opportunity. Nonetheless, it is entertaining as well as educational to watch. I would argue that it should be required viewing for all career-minded young women, next to documentaries on aging women who are trying to have a kid with IVF and donor sperm.