Have you watched The Tinder Swindler on Netflix yet? It’s not for everyone but I actually watched it twice. It has brought up so many interesting discussions in my classes and I am quite conflicted about certain parts of it too. I felt angry, amused, sympathetic, disgusted, and bemused – all in the space of two hours.
Being a woman of a certain age, I have received the usually scammy messages in my social media mailboxes. They are almost always characterised by at least three of the following:
- American, based in Germany, Iraq or Afghanistan
- Can barely speak English
- A widower, often with one child
- Oil rig worker, doctor, Army General
- Immediate love bombing with declarations of love
I would never fall for one of those, though there are many many people who do. And once these poor women do, I think the element of shame prevents them from telling family and friends until the situation is very dire.
But this Simon Leviev is something else. These women met him in real life and he showered them with expensive trips and fancy meals before asking for money. You could understand why they perhaps felt they could trust him not to cheat them. He built something with them first, even if it was only a month or so. I honestly don’t know if I would have been able to resist being spoiled and complimented so much (yes I must be very shallow). Being sent flowers and being taken to exotic places. And I have given money to skeevy persuasive boyfriends before, because I wanted them to love me. Thank goodness I learned my lesson about that long ago.
But on the other hand
- Those with old money seldom flash it or talk about it. You somehow know they have it but it is not because of the way they dress. Even the nouveau riche don’t cover themselves in designer logos from head to toe. So someone splashing money like that would probably make me think they were involved in something criminal.
- The legal diamond business does not involve one guy wining and dining people to get ‘contracts’. Neither does it involve guns, threats, going underground because your enemies are out to get you. These are huge companies with thousands of staff who take care of staffing, transport, security, legalities.
- I have seen this dude being called Slimon because there is something off about him and I am not sure what it is. He just seems so….shallow? fake? smarmy?
People have also been asking why he seemed to concentrate on Scandinavian women (there were at least three in Finland, one in Sweden, one in Norway). I would say it is because Scandinavian women are very independent. They move out of home early, they are used to being financially independent, and have a good standard of living. In Sweden, education is free, and wages are high due to strong trade unions. This would have meant Scandinavian women had money to give him and would have been independent from their parents. Scandinavia has traditionally had very safe, stable societies with really low crime rate. People are thus often rather naive when it comes to crime and scams.
In addition find it interesting that if a man is scammed by a woman out for his money, people often say ‘poor thing. He was naive and lonely. She took advantage of him’. But women in the same situation are called gold-diggers. And maybe they are, in a way. If two guys were on the same dating site, and were exactly the same, but one was a grave-digger and the other was a billionaire’s son, which would you choose? I honestly don’t know. From an evolutionary perspective, animals of all kinds have always chosen the strongest, healthiest and most fertile partners with which to reproduce, because this gives them and their offspring a better chance of survival. Maybe this is a vestige of that?
If you have seen this documentary, what did you think?
So many people near and dear to me have met their current partner online and it has worked out well for them. They had a chance to meet up virtually, to get to know the other from the inside out rater than the outside in – as was the case as I was coming of age (mumble-mumble) years ago. On the other hand, with online “dating,” one is also vulnerable to scams like the one you described. As for gold-digging, I don’t think it’s wrong to want to meet someone who is at least responsible and capable of pulling their weight in a relationship, emotionally, physically (however you define that), and yes, financially. That being said, each of us is more gifted in some things than others. Using your analogy, were I single and looking for a partner, I’d rather have a kind, intelligent gravedigger with a sense of humor than a narcissistic billionaire – not that this is always the choice, LOL!:) My father had a rather large amount of money by the standards of his time, but my stepmother, who in contrast had very little financially, made him wealthy in ways he could never have dreamt – and none of those ways included money. What these scammers point out more than anything, is the incredible loneliness there is in the world. We really need to be kinder to one another.
What a wonderful reply! You are so right. I have at least nine clients who met the love of their lives on Tinder. It’s a pity that there are scammers like this out there who take advantage of the medium to pretend to be what they are not.