Social networks and online dating apps can be great ways to connect with others, but they are also a gift to scam artists.
Two men devised a scheme that duped at least 30 men on Tinder into sending money to them.
According to Mashable, between 2014 and 2016, the pair transferred “millions of baht” (the currency of Thailand) between the two of them.
The scammers would download photos of women they found on Facebook and other public outlets and set up fake profiles with false names on the popular dating app to lure their victims.
One of the victims transferred 15,000 baht ($435.92) to a woman he had been chatting with regularly. She reportedly claimed to be a Thai Airways flight attendant, which was also her excuse for never being able to meet up in person.
At one point, she said she lost her credit card and asked for a loan. After the victim transferred money to “her,” she disappeared.
At least three of the fake profiles used photos of Thai Airways flight attendants who became aware of the scam when their employer began investigating them for fraud.
One of the women whose picture was used in the deceitful trick said her reputation has been damaged as a result of the investigation and she could face disciplinary action by the airline, even though she maintains that she wasn’t a part of the scam.
The Bangkok Post reports that police are on the hunt for the two men responsible for the hoax, one of whom is allegedly wanted under nine arrest warrants for swindling and fraud. Authorities say they believe the two men live together outside of Bangkok.
Generally speaking, someone asking for large sums of money over the internet is a red flag, but “love” — or at least the prospect of it — has a funny way of blinding people to the obvious.