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The Tinder Swindler: A Catfish Criminal

Are dating apps safe?

By Shauna MullenPublished 2 years ago Updated 2 years ago 4 min read

Twenty years ago, the way to find a significant other would be to dance over to a stranger in a nightclub or ask someone you find attractive for their number; however, those days are behind us and in 2022, the new age of flirting is technology. Dating apps. Gone are the days of having to be confident and find the nerve to talk to the pretty girl across the room. Today, we can pretend to be whoever we want to be on apps like tinder and the person on the other end is none the wiser. The risk of danger on dating apps is so much greater than before and the Netflix Documentary: The Tinder Swindler proves it.

Catfishing is prevalent on dating apps and social media. Normally, people with low self-esteem pretend to be someone else because they are worried the person, they are talking too won’t welcome them in the same way. However, catfishing can also be used by criminals to con you and take advantage of you. The Tinder Swindler shows the damage catfishing can have on individuals.

Although, Simon Leviev didn’t lie about his appearance, he lied about his entire life and who he was. He used Tinder to fund the expensive lifestyle that he paraded around on his social media by defrauding multiple women. He was originally born in Israel as Shimon Hayut. He originally conned 3 Finnish women in 2015 which he served a jail sentence of 2 years. The documentary reveals that he is estimated to have stolen close to 10 million dollars. Simon Leviev, aka, “The prince of diamonds” was arrested in 2019 when his, then, current girlfriend realized he was conning her and gave information to the police on where to find him.

Simon Leviev was arrested in 2019 when he was caught travelling under a fake passport and was extradited to Israel. He was sentenced to 15 months in jail for fraud charges unrelated to the three women in the documentary. However, after only serving 5 months of his prison term, he was released due to the prison trying to keep inmate numbers as low as possible due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tinder released this statement about The Tinder Swindler;

“We banned Simon Leviev and any of his known aliases as soon as the story of his actions were made public in 2019. He is permanently banned from tinder. In the lead up to the documentary, we conducted additional internal investigations and can confirm that Simon Leviev is not active on tinder under any of his known aliases.”

It is reported that he is also banned from other dating sites such as Match, OKCupid and Hinge. However, the question remains, is he still working his schemes in the background and is this enough to keep women safe? This question may already be answered for us as there are rumors circulating online that he has been spotted on the dating app bumble. Is this just speculation or would he be that bold to try his con again under the same name?

Since the release of the documentary, Simon Leviev has taken to his Instagram account to defend himself and calls everyone involved a liar. Many articles reported that he had deleted his Instagram account, but upon further investigation I found a smaller page under a similar name which claims Instagram banned his account which might not be so far from the truth. The Instagram account posted to their story recently asking people to stay tuned because he will be telling his truth soon. Will this be another con?

EDIT~ Since writing this the instagram has gone from just over 1000 followers to close to 20,000 followers. He also posted a story recently about karma. Could this be aimed towards the females in the documentary or someone new?

An official go-fund me has been set up to help the women in the documentary recuperate some of the money they lost. Cecille Fjellhoy now has an Instagram account with 139k followers where she shares her friendship with Pernilla Sjoholm, the Swedish woman who also got conned out of money by Simon Leviev. When diving into the Instagram account's of the women, I found not everyone has the same reaction to them. With comments like;

“Y’all just look like two wannabe gold diggers that didn’t make it.”


“Gold diggers. How do you afford a holiday like this with all of your debts but ask for money through a crowdfunding?”

The Tinder Swindler documentary shows how finding love online is dangerous not only physically but emotionally and financially. I don’t want the documentary to discourage people from trying to find love online. I met my current boyfriend of 4 years on a dating site and I couldn’t be happier, however it does highlight the problems with dating apps today and brings the question to light;

What can be done to keep everyone on dating sites safe?

Not only women, but men too.

Catfishing is a prominent problem and the companies themselves need to put more precautions in place to prevent The Tinder Swindler or any other catfish from striking again.

Here is the GoFundMe page which has been set up to help the victims of The Tinder Swindler.

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About the Creator

Shauna Mullen

I like to write about true crime and do small investigations. I also write fiction sometimes

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Comments (4)

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  • Rick Henry Christopher ☄️🔥about a year ago

    Very well writing. Interesting topic. More people need to be aware of the potential dangers of online dating before jumping into it.

  • Dawn Saloisabout a year ago

    Interesting article. Meeting people online can go very well, or it can be very dangerous.

  • Heather Hublerabout a year ago

    Well written and such an interesting topic. Loved it!

  • An excellent review, it's on my Netflix list now. Thank you

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