Woman swindled out of $300,000 worth of bitcoin by Hinge date | #datingscams | #russianliovescams | #lovescams

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A 33-year-old woman was reportedly swindled out of $300,000 worth of bitcoin by a man she met on the dating app Hinge.

According to The New York Times, the woman met the Chinese architect while he was staying in Maryland for a long-term assignment. Tho Vu, who works in customer service for a security company, developed a crush on the architect, who went by the name Ze Zhao, after months of texting back and forth.

The architect – whose real identity is not known – told Vu that he could help her make money by trading bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. She ended up sending him more than $300,000 worth of bitcoin to an address that Zhao told her was connected to the Hong Kong cryptocurrency exchange known as OSL. But instead of going into a crypto account, the money went into the scammer’s wallet and he vanished.

Dating app scams like The Tinder Swindler have doubled in the past year. The Federal Trade Commission reported that romance scams in 2021 hit a record $547m in losses, a nearly 80 per cent increase compared to 2020. Cryptocurrency alone counted for $139m (£102m) lost to a romance scam.

Romance scammers are people who create fake social profiles using pictures taken from the internet, and trick their victims into sending them money. According to the NYTimes, these scammers appear to be going after younger and more educated women on dating apps like Tinder, Bumble and Hinge, and prefer using cryptocurrency because of the privacy they offer.

Stories of dating app scams made worldwide news this month when Netflix released their true crime documentary, The Tinder Swindler. The film follows three women as they track down a man who allegedly stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from them.

The man allegedly behind the scam, Simon Leviev, presented himself on Tinder as the son of a Russian-Israeli diamond mogul to trick women into believing he was wealthy, only to then request thousands of dollars from them when he was said to be in danger. According to the FTC, this is a common tactic among dating app scammers.

“Romance scammers weave all sorts of believable stories to con people, but their old standby involves pleas for help while claiming one financial or health crisis after another,” they reported.

Since the release of the documentary, Leviev has denied the claims made by the victims in the film.

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