Date Night Disaster: The Costly Tactics of Dating App Scams

Dating apps have revolutionized the way we connect with potential partners. However, with convenience comes risk, and the emergence of Tinder scams highlights a dark side to online dating. One such alarming incident involved a civil service aspirant from Delhi, whose date with a woman he met on a dating app resulted in a staggering ₹1.20 lakh bill at a café. This case is just one among many that underscore the rampant nature of these scams in major cities.

Understanding the Tinder Scam

A Tinder scam typically follows a predictable yet cunning modus operandi. The scam begins when the victim matches with an attractive profile on a dating app such as Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, or OKCupid. The woman quickly shares her WhatsApp number, and they start chatting. A date is soon planned, with the woman insisting on meeting in a specific locality known for its cafes and pubs. When asked for the name of the café, she suggests meeting at a nearby metro station instead.

Upon arrival at the café, the woman takes charge of ordering. Eager to impress, the victim suspects nothing. However, she often orders items not listed on the menu or fakes an emergency, leaving abruptly. When the bill arrives, it’s shockingly high. Protests are met with threats from café staff or bouncers, leaving the victim no choice but to pay. Fear of social stigma and family embarrassment usually prevents victims from reporting the scam to the police.

Case Study: Delhi Incident

In a notable Delhi case, an IAS aspirant fell victim to this scam. The police arrested the café owner, Akshay Pahwa, and the victim’s date, Afsan Parveen. Investigations revealed an intricate network involving café owners, managers, and women who lure targets. The earnings from the scam are divided among these players, with the woman receiving 15%, the managers 45%, and the owners 40%.

Reddit Accounts of Tinder Scams

Numerous Reddit users have shared their experiences with similar scams. One user recounted how his date ordered firecrackers, driving the bill up to over ₹40,000. Another realized that the man at the next table was also a victim. These accounts highlight common patterns in these scams, providing valuable insights into their operation.

Geographical Spread

This scam is not confined to Delhi alone. Major cities like Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad have reported similar incidents. For instance, in Hyderabad, a club operating under multiple names used the same woman to lure multiple victims, resulting in exorbitant bills for shots and other orders.

Players Involved in the Scam

The scam relies on a coordinated effort among various players. Café owners and managers are complicit, ensuring the scam runs smoothly. Women lure the targets and place the orders, while staff and bouncers enforce payment through intimidation. The division of earnings ensures everyone involved benefits.

Scam Variations

While the core strategy remains the same, variations exist. In one case, a woman ordered firecrackers, significantly inflating the bill. These unique tactics keep the scam adaptable and difficult to predict.

Impact on Victims

The psychological and financial impact on victims can be severe. Many feel embarrassed and reluctant to report the scam, fearing social stigma. The financial loss can be substantial, adding to the distress.

Challenges in Reporting

Reporting these scams is fraught with challenges. Victims often worry about the social implications of admitting they used dating apps. Additionally, the anonymity provided by dating apps makes it difficult for police to trace and apprehend the culprits.

Women as Targets

Men are not the only victims. Women have also fallen prey to similar scams. In one case, two men befriended women on dating apps and robbed them at their homes. This highlights the need for both genders to be cautious when using dating apps.

Preventative Measures

To avoid falling victim to a Tinder scam, be wary of profiles that seem too eager or insistent on meeting at specific locations. Always choose a public place you’re familiar with, and never let your date take control of ordering. If something feels off, trust your instincts and leave.

Legal Recourse

If you suspect you’ve been scammed, report the incident to the police immediately. Document all communications and transactions, as these can serve as evidence. Know your legal rights and seek assistance from legal professionals if needed.

Role of Social Media

Social media platforms like Reddit play a crucial role in raising awareness about Tinder scams. Sharing experiences helps others recognize the warning signs and avoid falling victim. It also puts pressure on authorities to take action.


Tinder scams are a growing concern in major cities, exploiting the anonymity and convenience of dating apps. By staying informed and vigilant, users can protect themselves from falling victim. Awareness and caution are key to enjoying the benefits of online dating without the risks.

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