Could Your Tinder Match Be a Scam Bot?

Don't get burned by your Tinder match

The online dating world has been lit ablaze by the location-aware mobile dating app known as Tinder. However, not all profiles are real people; some are malicious bots. How can you know whether the photo you're swiping right on is a legitimate person looking for love or a scammer in disguise? There are a few tell-tale signs the person you matched with may not be who they say they are.

They Type Incredibly Fast

The Tinder bots you encounter are just that: bots. They're not real people. One big tip-off is that as soon as you get matched to a bot, they're going to message you, likely within microseconds. Is it possible it's a real person who's eager to chat with you? Maybe, but it's more likely the bot was triggered by the match and sent its first message to get you on the hook as quickly as possible.

Robot typing hands
ANDRZEJ WOJCICKI / Science Photo Library / Getty Images

While this sign is not conclusive, it's the first clue that something is amiss. As you keep chatting, the responses you get back are almost instantaneous because they're scripted and triggered off of your responses.

Their Responses Are Generic

Unless the Tinder bot uses a sophisticated chatterbot-based conversation engine, it likely has only a few canned responses it gives in response to your interactions. Once it's dispensed with a few flirty small talk remarks, it delivers its payload, usually asking you to visit a link that either requires you to download something (likely malware) or give your credit card information.

Robot with a lightbulb over its head
Westend61 / Getty Images

Since the bot responses are scripted, it won't answer your questions directly. That's not to say some Tinder scams don't have live people on the other end who engage in a real conversation with you before they scam you, but the majority of Tinder bots can't hold simple conversations.

You can test this out by asking questions a regular human should be able to answer such as, "Where did you go to school?" or "Guess how old I am."

Once the bot delivers its payload, it probably won't respond to any questions. It's done with you. You either took the bait or you didn't.

You Have No Facebook Friends or Interests in Common

Tinder bots leverage information from fake Facebook profiles to get on Tinder. Since they're not real, you probably don't have any Facebook friends in common with them. They may have some generic interests in common with you, but probably not.

Young man explaining about modern way of investing to friends.
JGalione / Getty Images

They Ask You to Visit a Link or Use Your Credit Card

You may have gotten five, 10, or even 20 messages, but in the end, a bot eventually has to cut to the chase and deliver the message that gets you to download malware or pay for something.

Bear trap with credit cards
KTSDESIGN / Science Photo Library / Getty Images

This could be in the form of a weird-looking URL you're afraid to click because you don't recognize any of the characters. Or maybe it's a short URL that disguises the real thing. Links to webcam sites are also common. The bot will try to convince you they can't talk right now through Tinder, but if you click through you can message them there.

Once you get this message from a Tinder bot, use the app's blocking feature and remove them from your match list. After you get this message, it's highly unlikely you'll receive any further communications from them other than repeated requests to perform the same action they wanted you to do in the payload message.

They're Way Too Hot for Facebook

Tinder scammers know flashy profile pictures have better odds of getting attention and a swipe from you. They might throw in one or two images that up the hotness level to grab your focus and make you more likely to swipe right. These pictures are likely stolen from a model's Instagram or Facebook page.

Competition judges
sorbetto / DigitalVision Vectors / Getty Images 

Another red herring is images that don't look like selfies or casual photos. A regular Tinder profile probably has several images of everyday-looking pictures, but a bot's profile has professional-looking images because they probably swiped them from a professional's page.