Could Your Tinder Match Be a Scam Bot?

Don't get burned by your Tinder match

Keyboard with pink heart as a key

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The online dating world has been lit ablaze by the location-aware mobile dating app known as Tinder. However, not all Tinder profiles are real people — some are malicious bots.

Tinder's popularity probably has a lot to do with its ease of use, and it seems just as easy for bots to use, too. The app has become a target for scammers attempting to con users out of money, or getting them to install malware so that the scammers can make money via malware affiliate marketing programs and other methods.

An illustration of a bot on a dating website shown on a mobile device.
Lifewire / Ashley Nicole DeLeon

How can a Tinder user know whether the photo they're swiping right on is a legitimate person looking for love, or a scammer in disguise? There are a few tell-tale signs that the person you matched with may not truly be who they say they are.

Tinder can be a really fun app for meeting new people, especially if your profile is optimized to match you with like-minded people. Just make sure you recognize the warning signs below and don't fall head over heels for a bot.

They Type Incredibly Fast

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

The Tinder bots you encounter are just that: bots. They're not real people. Because of that, 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 that it's a real person who's just really eager to chat with you? Maybe, but it's more likely that the bot was triggered by the match and sent its first message trying to get you on the hook as quickly as possible.

While this sign is not conclusive, it is the first thing that will probably clue you in that something is amiss.

As you keep chatting, you'll probably notice that the responses you get back are almost instantaneous because they have been scripted and are triggered off of your responses.

Their Responses Are Generic

Robot with a lightbulb over its head
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Unless the Tinder bot is using a sophisticated chatterbot-based conversation engine, they'll likely have only a few canned responses that they give in response to your interactions.

Once they've dispensed with a few flirty small talk remarks such as "I've had a really busy week, my feet hurt, I need a massage," they will deliver their payload, which usually asks you to visit a link that will either require you to download something (likely malware) or give them your credit card information.

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

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

Once they've delivered their payload, they probably won't respond to any questions. They're done with you. You either took the bait or you didn't.

You Have No Facebook Friends or Interests in Common

Facebook logo scratched out on an iPhone

Tinder bots have to leverage information from fake Facebook profiles in order to be 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.

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

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

The honeymoon is over when this message hits you. All those previous flirty messages have been intended to set you up for the con.

You may have gotten five, 10, or even 20 messages, but in the end, they eventually have to cut to the chase and deliver what it is they're there for: the message that gets you to download or pay for something.

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

Once you get this message from your Tinder bot, it's best to use the app's blocking feature so that you can have them removed 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 that they wanted you to do in the payload message.

They're Way Too Hot for Facebook

Competition judges
sorbetto / DigitalVision Vectors / Getty Images 

Tinder scammers know very well that the odds of a match and a message from you are in their favor if they can catch your attention with flashy profile pictures.

They'll probably throw in one or two images that really up the sexy factor in order to grab your focus and make you more likely to swipe right.

These pictures are likely not from their Facebook profile but instead stolen from a model's Instagram or Facebook page.

On that note, the images don't look like selfies or casual photos. Your regular Tinder profile has several images of everyday-looking pictures, but a bot's profile has very professional looking images because, again, they probably swiped them from a professional's page.