What the Tinder scammer taught me about love and money

  • “The Tinder Swindler” on Netflix tells the story of a man who was accused of scamming three women out of $385,000.
  • I realized that I had been cheated out of small amounts of money and emotional energy in past relationships.
  • Flashy gifts, oversharing on the first date, and moving in too quickly are all red flags.
  • Read more stories from Personal Finance Insider.


‘The Tinder Swindler’ documentary centers on Simon Leviev, accused of scamming women out of millions of dollars. Leviev refutes these claimsclaiming that he was never charged or convicted for these crimes and that the film is “made up”.

When I heard that Simon Leviev, starring in “The Tinder Scammer”allegedly defrauded romantic interests out of nearly $10 million, my jaw dropped.

Netflix documentary ‘The Tinder Swindler’ tells the story from the perspective of Cecilie Fjellhøy, Pernilla Sjoholm and Ayleen Charlotte, who claim they were scammed out of a total of $385,000. All three women say they met Leviev on Tinder, but only Fjellhøy, who says she lent him $200,000, and Charlotte, who says she lent him $140,000, claim to have had romantic relationships with him.

At first I was tempted to say, “Oh, I’ll never be stupid enough to fall in love this.“After watching the documentary, I realized it’s really can happen to someone. Maybe it doesn’t happen on the same six-figure scale, but in bad relationships, I’ve been cheated out of money I can’t afford to lose and time-consuming acts of service that won’t be able to never be reimbursed.

Here are five chilling lessons about money and relationships that were learned at home watching “The Tinder Swindler” on Netflix.

1. Flashy giveaways could cover red flags

According to the Netflix documentary, on their first date, Fjellhøy met Leviev for coffee at the Four Seasons in London. Leviev allegedly posed as the son of a billionaire diamond dealer in Israel. She was immediately impressed and felt an “instant connection” with him.

At the end of the date, Leviev says he wants to get to know her better, then invites her to board a private jet with him to Bulgaria. Having never been on a private jet before, Fjellhøy says yes, and he arranges for a Rolls Royce to take her home to pack.

I had first dates with men and women who immediately offered to take me somewhere. I considered it for a brief second, thinking how awful it would be to miss out on free return flights. At the time, I texted a few friends to get a second opinion. Luckily, my friends have pointed out that the offer of free vacations, designer clothes, or exaggerated freebies could be a lure of bigger issues below the surface.

2. Oversharing isn’t sexy.

Once Fjellhøy arrived in Bulgaria with Leviev, the two spent the night together. In bed, Leviev allegedly shared with her that he was wrongfully imprisoned in South Africa because of a business deal gone wrong. He shares that the diamond trade is dangerous and has enemies trying to hunt him down and hurt him.

It’s a great story, but for a first date? It’s way too heavy to talk about a pillow.

I’ve also been on dates with people who share too much of their life story. Although I haven’t really handed over my credit cards, I’ve done a ton of emotional work and skipped social events to accommodate them when we’ve only been dating for a week. For me, sharing too early in the relationship is a sign that they need more energy than I’m willing to give.

3. Moving in too soon together is a bad sign.

After sifting through WhatsApp texts and bank account statements, VG reporters in Norway say Leviev had his scam down to a science. After a month of romance and all-expenses-paid vacations all over Europe, he would ask his amorous conquests to move into his home.

He asked Fjellrøy to look for apartments with a budget of $15,000 per month. Right after filing a request, Leviev claimed that his enemies tried to attack him. He reportedly sent photos of his bodyguard who had been bruised and beaten in an effort to protect him. He used the attempted attack to solicit money, claiming his enemies were stalking him through his credit card business.

Naturally, Fjellrøy was worried about her boyfriend. At his request, she claims to have opened new credit cards and taken out payday loans and flew to Amsterdam to give him up to $25,000 in cash.

I’ve learned that moving in together takes a lot of planning, learning each other’s habits, and lots of healthy conversations about money. Without these steps, moving in too quickly together is a trap.

4. Googling your date is not enough

Leviev’s Tinder profile had all the trappings of a legit person. He linked his Instagram account, which was frequently updated with photos from his travels. He looked the same in the photos as he does in person. He even posted where he worked.

I’ve been on dating apps for almost 10 years now, and I definitely Google everyone I date to make sure they’re not a serial killer. Google is a great first step, but I’ve learned that spending time with someone, noticing their patterns and habits over a long period of time, is how you really get to know someone.

5. Consistency speaks volumes

The most alarming thing I noticed was how the documentary portrayed how Leviev spoke to each of the women. The voice memos he left started off being sweet and endearing, calling them “sweetie” or “wife-to-be” or “such a good friend” while asking for help with money.

When each woman asked about how she was being reimbursed or voiced her concerns, the voice memos quickly turned aggressive. After Charlotte exposed the scam and stopped sending money, the documentary says Leviev began yelling into the phone and calling her names.

When it comes to communication, consistency says a lot about the person I’m dating. In the past, I’ve had relationships with people who praised me when they needed something and yelled at me when I didn’t give it to them. If it happens again, I run straight for the door.

Netflix documentary ‘The Tinder Swindler’ centers on Simon Leviev, accused of scamming women out of millions of dollars. Leviev refutes these claimsclaiming that he was never charged or convicted for these crimes and that the film is “made up”.