We at iNinja are eager to help people stay safe online. But not every cyber threat can be confronted with a VPN app. In such cases, we just want to tell you about the issue itself and measurements you can take to avoid becoming a victim of cybercriminals.

In this article, we want to talk about Tinder and bots that reside there. This app definitely made dating way simpler. And that’s what made this service mad popular. The problem is that malefactors are attracted to popular services just like a moth to the light. So it was only a matter of time for hackers to start working with Tinder.

Tinder facilitates quite a lot of bots. Yet, not all of them are dangerous. Let us explain how to tell a fake and a real profile apart, and what to do when you encounter bots on Tinder.

How to spot a fake profile

A fake profile is not necessarily a bot. The latter is just an algorithm that performs certain activities. Fake profiles, on the other hand, are created manually by users who want to hide their identity for whatever reason. We need to talk about faux accounts because they might look like bots, and you need to know the difference.

A fake profile is way harder to detect than a bot. Sometimes, a person behind it is using a stolen identity, and the whole thing looks rather convincing. But you can understand you’re dealing with a faux account by these signs:

  • They will avoid contact in real life. This is quite weird because Tinder is created to help people bring their online chat to the offline world. If a person you’re talking to for quite a while finds numerous reasons to postpone a call or a meeting, you might be dealing with a fake account.
  • They’re asking you to help financially. Come on, you barely know this person. That’s definitely some kind of scam.
  • They’re sending you some weird links that will allegedly lead to a photo or some game. Rather likely, all you’ll find there is malware.
  • They’re asking lots of very personal questions. If you’ve faced questions like “how did you call your first pet?”, you’re a step away from becoming a victim.
  • They ask for some kind of commitment right away. Tinder is for meeting people. So it’s weird when someone immediately asks for a long-term relationship or some other commitment without fully disclosing details about themselves.
  • If you google photos of this person, you can see that they belong to someone else.

Users don’t always create fake profiles with malicious intentions. But you should consider the possibility that you’re dealing with a scammer when you encounter any of the signs we’ve listed above. If a person seems suspicious, don’t share any information with them, let alone agreeing to meet them in some deserted place.

What does a bot look like?

So now, when we’ve figured out what a fake profile would look like, let’s talk about bots. Modern bots are not as rigid and obvious as they were a couple of years ago. However, Tinder scammers usually don’t put much effort into making them complex and convincing. Such bots might look like real people at the first glance but as you start trying to talk to them, you’ll understand it’s a robot.
Here is what a bot usually looks like:

  • Its Tinder account is not connected to any account on other social media platforms. While some people might avoid showing their profiles on Facebook on Instagram, it’s still something to be suspicious of.
  • There is a connected profile but it looks fake. So you click on that Facebook link just to see a page filled with not-so-realistic pictures and rather common information. If there is no personal touch to an account, it’s rather likely fake.
  • There are mistakes and links in the bio. Alright, a human can make mistakes, too. But let’s be honest — in most cases, real users put a lot of effort into creating a Tinder profile. And if there are also suspicious links in the bio, it’s very possibly a bot.
  • Photos are too polished and professional. Right, everyone has access to professional photo sessions. Yet, most users tend to post their real photos and selfies. So perfect photos might be a sign of a bot.

And if you matched with a bot, here is what is likely to happen:

  • You’ll receive a message immediately. It’s very hard for a human to answer so quickly even though it’s possible. Chances are that it’s a bot if the message was instant.
  • You feel that something is off. Even sophisticated bots usually sound a bit unnatural, let alone those crude Tinder ones. They will struggle to handle a realistic conversation. Messages unrelated to yours, immediate answers, or provocative questions are signs of a bot. To test it out, ask a weird question like “What does a pigeon sound like?” and see what they answer. Or type random letters.
  • You receive an invitation to bring your conversation to another service, and you’re asked to click a link. Very likely this link leads to a page with malware or some other threat.
  • A person asks for very personal information such as address. Don’t give them any data — it’s a scam.

What to do if you think you’re dealing with a bot?

You can report this account. In chat, you’ll find red flag in the top right corner. Tap it and then tap Report. State the reason for the report and then tap Submit. Do that before you unmatch a bot or a fake account because if you unmatch them, the chat will disappear from the list, and you won’t be able to report them.

If you think that you found a fake account or a bot before matching, you can click on the info (I) that’s in the bottom right corner or tap Report below the profile name or bio.

If you encounter a bot or a faux profile, don’t provide them with any information and don’t agree to meetings in remote or weird locations. Take your time to check social media profiles and google photos to see if they’re real. Don’t open suspicious links. And remember that if you don’t feel safe, you can always hide your profile by going to Settings and toggling off the Show me on Tinder option.

The statistics suggest that around 20% of Tinder profiles are fake. While it’s not a very large percentage, it’s still significant. So even though Tinder is rather safe, you should be cautious at all times when using it and matching with people. Also, remember that it’s linked with Facebook that’s quite greedy when it comes to data. That’s another reason to avoid sharing sensitive information on Tinder.