I've Got Writes!

Teacher, Writer, Proofreader

My Tinder Mission

It began as a mission to find the right person to spend the rest of my life with, or at least to find an enjoyable date. (I’ve had a few.) However, it has morphed into a mission to deter Nigerian scammers from messing with the emotions of compassionate women and their money.

We all know they are out there, but when we are honest, good-hearted people, do we really see the warning signs?

Here’s my story:

In my six months on Tinder, I’ve matched with many alleged U.S. soldiers that are deployed for “peace keeping” in Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, etc. After texting with several of them, I noticed patterns in the conversations. So, I did what any inquiring teacher would do. I “got on the Google”, as my mom would say, and did some research. I Googled something like, “scammers posing as soldiers on Tinder”. Bada-bing, bada-bang! I realized my bull-shit radar was correct.

Just a few of the sites that came up:

http://www.military.com/spouse/relationships/can-you-spot-the-scammer.html

http://spousebuzz.com/blog/2015/12/she-said-my-soldier-found-her-on-tinder.html

https://www.facebook.com/MilitaryRomances/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3162240/Fake-soldier-pretended-Army-Captain-Afghanistan-online-dating-site-trick-lonely-women-400-000.html

These “soldiers” have similar tragic stories, like both parents had been killed in a car accident or the wife had died of cancer. One of which said he was a “widow” instead of a “widower”.

They each ask very early in the conversation to switch to another texting app to make it easier to talk.

Sometimes the app shows their location as near Akure, Ado-Ekiti, Ikare, or some other unfamiliar place. Google Maps will show you that these are located in southwestern Nigeria. (A flashing red light after reading the above sites.)

All of these guys’ texts are consistent with grammatical, punctuation, and spelling errors you would see from a second language learner. I’ve taught English for more than 10 years. Most of my students have been second language learners, so I’m familiar with common errors that occur with non-native speakers.

Actual texts I received that show what I mean:

“I’m going for work now.”

“is there any luck for your match?”

“I will like to know you better.”

“What month are you I’m Febuary”

Within about two hours of texting, these “soldiers” start calling me “babe” and express that they are falling for me or that I am everything they’ve been looking for in a woman. The second day of texting, one said that he told his kids about me. Really?? That’s ridiculous.

“i would like to have you as my soulmate”

“I told my kids about you last night They can’t wait to met with you”

“its nothing……..distance is just a name……….wet time we will get to see we just have to give more time to know ourselves”

(What the hell does that even mean??)

One had the username of Williams Jones. Yes, Williams, with an “s”, but as a first name, not a surname. When I zoomed in on one of his photos, I noticed the name embroidered on his work jacket was Travis McQueen. When I asked the guy about why the name on his jacket was different, communication ceased and within a few minutes, that photo had been replaced with a different one.

So, I thought I would try to find the real Travis McQueen. Took me about 30 minutes or so, but I found him. The photos from Tinder and the one on the guy’s work site were definitely of the same dude. His brief bio showed he had been honorably discharged from the military several years ago. Thus, definitely not “currently deployed for peace keeping.” I tried emailing him to alert him about someone using his photos on Tinder, but never received a reply. At least I tried, right?

Now, my bull-shit radar is always on high alert. If I detect something suspicious, I report it as “feels like spam” and move on. I know I won’t stop scammers from posing as U.S. soldiers, from stealing photos, or from duping people out of their money, but maybe I can slow one or two of them down a bit and piss ’em off in the process. And, perhaps, I will unwittingly match with the love of my life.

If you have a similar experience, please share it in the comments. Thanks for reading!! 🙂

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10 thoughts on “My Tinder Mission

  1. Hi Mandy,
    Wow! Your article is beautifully written! I am like your students in several ways. I tend to blend languages and I have a short attention span. Your article held my attention. Anyway, I’m replying to let you know that I feel for your struggle to find a partner and want to urge you not to give up. The old adage about finding someone when you’re not looking, is possible but not likely. If you’re looking, of course you’re going to find some toads, but you might happen onto a “prince-like” guy in the end.
    Best Wishes, Jimmi

    Like

    • Thanks, Jimmi!
      Yeah, I’ve already put in a lot of years of “not looking”, which has produced nothing in the love department. So, I’ll keep swimming through toads for a while and see what happens! 🙂

      Like

  2. Was scammed once. I never sent him any money, but I was taken in. Crossing my fingers for never again. If anyone contacts me who is “widowed” in his profile, I do not answer. If he is persistent, I block him. I may miss out on a legitimate widower who may be awesome, but it’s necessary for my protection. I have the same rule for anyone whose occupation is anything military. I got the same story. Deployed in Afghanistan but almost ready to come home. Wife and child killed in a car accident.

    Oh, here’s something to look out for. If he says that he is American but was brought up in another country from a young age because of some terrible tragedy in his life, he’s probably a scammer. I think it’s the scammers’ way of excusing their language patterns.

    Anyway, the guy told me he loved me within a few weeks. My friend told me he sounded like a scammer, and I had a big fight with her. But I ended up getting someone on a military scam website to hunt down the real guy in this pictures for me. Boy, did I feel stupid. Got rid of the guy before he could ask for money. He did ask for a Playstation, but I told him no. Would have said no to the money as well. No guy, but kept the friend.

    Now if pictures don’t look right, I Google them. Just found a guy using some random person’s pictures from a real estate website. I report as many as I can. It’s a lot of work, and it interferes with my looking. But it’s worth it to save someone from a scammer. Yes, I know they don’t go away, but it doesn’t hurt to make things more difficult for them.

    Good luck out there! Be careful!

    Like

    • Wow! Thanks for sharing. Glad your friend was looking out for you.
      Yeah, I remember one telling me he grew up in Spain, which I thought was cool until he couldn’t hold a real conversation about it.
      Do you report them just on the dating site or have you reported more of them to that military scam site as well?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I reported him to the dating site, and they took down his profile. Oh, yeah, he did get me to switch to email right away, because his profile had disappeared, but I still reported him, and he was still there, just blocked from me. I found out where the real guy was stationed, and I reported him there so the guy would know his pictures were being used. He tried to friend me on LinkedIn, and I reported him there. I also found him on Facebook and reported him there. I’ve reported a few others as well, and their profiles always disappear right away.

        Like

      • Great!! Good to know. Thanks!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Tinder BS-O-Meter Sounds Again | I've Got Writes!

  4. Soldiers are my weakness but Tinder….ugh tinder i have absolutely no luck on there. I don’t get it.

    Great post i’ve posted about tinder as well take a look its called “tinder-ly ever after”

    Like

  5. I just want you to know that this game continues. I got the exact same message from two different guys: As I am talking to you now loneliness knows me by my first name.
    My life has being engolfed with misery and loneliness,I watch my life layed wide spread in front of me and didnt know what to do with it.My life has being boring and hope to meet someone who is ready to love me for who I am and would make it change for the best.
    I want you to know Im open to any kinda of question from you whatsoever.
    So tell me what do you like doing for fun?”. In the first hour

    Like

  6. Damaris Quiñones on said:

    Currently talking with a Daniel Walker, I saw his pic on here but he’s sent me may other pictures that I can’t find anywhere else. How do I know he’s real?

    Like

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