What was the worst date you’ve ever had? Was there any drab chit-chat and stale breath involved? Or have you been defrauded of a quarter-million dollars? The girls of the Tinder Swindler may have set a higher bar for “bad date.” The new Netflix documentary tells the storey of a notorious conman who allegedly exploited the Tinder dating app to live a lavish lifestyle while defrauding women across Europe.
So, who exactly is this enigmatic Tinder con artist?
Shimon Hayut, an Israeli convicted fraudster, is dubbed the “Tinder Swindler.” Hayut met a lot of women using dating apps, then set up credit and loan accounts in their names, leaving them to pay the bills.
How did he get away with it despite previously being convicted of fraud? To keep his plot afloat, Hayut seems satisfied to exchange identities like a demonic Leonardo DiCaprio in Catch Me If You Can. Under his birth identity, he was convicted of fraud in Finland, but he ran his Tinder scam as Simon Leviev, posing as the son of a wealthy diamond billionaire named Lev Leviev. After his identify was revealed in a VG exposé, he supposedly took the name David Sharon to evade the authorities.
Is it possible that it was a genuine ruse?
Hayut appears to have followed a pattern: he’d find a woman on Tinder, take her on an expensive and spectacular first date (in Cecilie Schrder Fjellhy’s case, a trip on a private plane), and progressively build their relationship while secretly dating other women while flying around the world. According to Hayut’s accusers, he reportedly expressed alarm about a hazy gathering of his “enemies” approaching. To add to the terror, he would later provide a photo of his bleeding security, who was allegedly injured by these assailants. He would quickly message each “girlfriend” to advise her that his credit card could not be used due to security issues, and that she should open a new one in her name for him to use. After that, he went straight to the races.
What was the entire sum of money he received?
The figure is estimated to be around $10 million, according to The Times of Israel. Hayut would avoid paying his debtors by cajoling, threatening, and delaying them in every way he could: After learning of The Tinder Swindler’s existence, he developed a habit of sending increasingly bizarre WhatsApp voice messages, including sending one to the filmmakers.
How did he end up being apprehended?
Ayleen Koeleman, one of Hayut’s long-term girlfriends, turned the tables on him after seeing the VG report. When the storey became viral, Hayut had no choice but to stop travelling and hide. He went to Koeleman, the only woman who seemed to trust in him, for help, but she was well ahead of him. Koeleman eventually persuaded him that she might profit by selling his high-end clothing, but she kept the money and swindled the Tinder Swindler herself. After some quick investigation work, she discovered Hayut was flying to Greece and informed the police of his flight information. In 2019, he was apprehended in Israel and sentenced to 15 months in jail for fraud.
Is it safe to use Tinder now that he’s in jail?
After barely five months in prison, Hayut was released, and Tinder confirmed that he has no active Tinder profiles or aliases. He’s also been permanently banned from the site. Despite the fact that he’s never stopped swiping right, Hayut is still living the same luxurious lifestyle he had before going to prison, complete with a new girlfriend, by the end of the movie.