I lost $92k in an internet dating scam – I was in denial until I watched Tinder Swindler on Netflix

A HEARTBROKEN woman has shared how she didn't realize she was the victim of an online dating scam until she watched Netflix's The Tinder Swindler.

She said she spent $92,000 on a man she thought loved her and is now delaying her retirement to get out of debt.

"I thought I was in love because every time I would hear from him, my heart would just burst open. And it was interesting, exciting," Kathy, the scammed woman who requested that her last name remain hidden, told ABC7 in an interview.

"And after every phone call before we hung up, we took turns praying and even that, he was really cute."

She told ABC7 that she met the man after signing up for SilverSingles, a dating platform for folks above the age of 50.

She noted that she was lonely during the pandemic and decided to give it a try.

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She then matched with the mystery man and the relationship progressed flawlessly.

She claimed the man would woo her by calling her sweet names and constantly complimenting her.

And when it came time for the scammer to start scamming, Kathy did not question his intentions – despite never meeting him.

"I asked to meet him. And he said: 'Well, I'm leaving for a job up in Toronto, and I have to go quickly,'" she recalled.

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"A couple of weeks after he was there in Toronto, supposedly, he said: 'I need these permits to work here and I need $5,000 for this permit. And they won't take a check or anything.'

"So I'm thinking, well, yeah, I want to help this man.

"You know, I'm falling in love with him.

"Why wouldn't I want to help them?" Kathy explained.

She said the man then fell into more scenarios – like getting into a costly accident – that required him to use money he claimed he didn't have.

When Kathy told him she didn't have that kind of money to lend, he encouraged her to think of other ways to get it.

Kathy eventually took out a loan against her house to help her needy online lover.

She claimed she was convinced she would get paid back because the man sent her a screenshot of his supposed bank account, which had plenty of money for repayment.

However, she opened her eyes to reality after her friend convinced her to watch Netflix's The Tinder Swindler, which follows the cases of several women who lost money due to online dating scams.

After everything was said and done, she said she gave this stranger $92,000 over the course of their relationship.

She now has to delay her retirement to dig herself out of this debt.

"He broke my heart.

"He tore my life apart," she said.


While it may seem like a common safety measure to never give a stranger on the internet money, people get scammed via dating scenarios more often than one would think.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, relationship scams grew six times more popular between 2017 and 2021 and cost folks $1.3billion over a similar timeline.

In an interview with ABC7, Steve Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois, said the numbers are likely higher, but people are too ashamed to report being involved in one.

He said you're likely experiencing a scammer if the person always has a reason why they cannot meet in person.

"That's what we call the tip-off to the rip-off," he noted.

The Sun was unable to secure a statement from SilverSingles or Netflix, but ABC7 was able to acquire a comment from the parent company of SilverSingles, Spark Network.

The full statement is below:

"Safety is always a top priority in everything we do, across all our brands at Spark Network.

"Upon detection of any potential fraudulent behavior, we apply many countermeasures.

"Spark utilizes external AI-based tools, robust transaction detection, internal filters and employs a sizeable, dedicated fraud team for the manual review of cases.

"Unfortunately, as with any online activity, there are 'bad actors' out there, however we remain dedicated to keeping our users safe on our platforms.

"We also invest in user education, as exhibited by the safety pages on our sites (see links below), because it's crucial to arm our community/audiences with the right tools to mitigate against the risks of online dating.

"We also refer our users to the Federal Trade Commission's Online Dating Scams site: http://www.onguardonline.gov/articles/0004-online-dating-scams.

"Dating should be fun, so we want to ensure our platforms are a safe and comfortable space for our users.

"We urge any user who has suspicions about someone they are in contact with, or if they find themselves in any of the below listed situations, to immediately cease communication and report the account to our Customer Care team.

"Below is a list identified by our fraud/security team of potentially concerning behavior that should be flagged to our Customer Care team.

"If there is an immediate request for outside communication within the first message(s), mostly via email, WhatsApp, Google Hangouts or Skype.

"If the suspected scammer is asking for contact details because they are 'taking their profile down'.

"If the suspected scammer's message seems to be very generic and not personalized.

"If the suspected scammer is using overly loving or complimentary language, especially in the initial stages of communication.

"If the message is written with poor grammar and spelling errors.

"If there are any requests for money, no matter the amount.

"If there are any requests to log into their bank account 'for' them.

"If there are any statements declaring that the suspected scammer is currently overseas.

"If there are any statements that a suspected scammer's loved one is sick or injured and they need funds to help them.

"If the suspected scammer makes excuses as to why they cannot meet in person or FaceTime/Skype.

"If the user receives emails from the suspected scammer stating they are leaving the site, but their friend/colleague/family member saw the user's profile and wants the user to contact them.

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"Additional information on safe online dating can be found on our safety pages:


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