“Someone is trying to pick up men on Tinder with my photo”

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Fake-Profil“Someone is trying to pick up men on Tinder with my photo”

A person I don’t know uses my face to flirt on Tinder. An expert classifies and the Zurich cantonal police say what can be done about it.

Deborah Gonzalez
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  • There is a fake profile with my photos circulating on Tinder.

  • I don’t know who is behind it. I haven’t received a response from Tinder.

  • Psychologist Felix Hof confirms that such a profile can ruin the relationships of those affected.

  • According to cybercrime police, the number of unreported cases of those affected is very high.

  • The Zurich cantonal police say how you can take action against identity theft.

I’m on Tinder. The problem: I don’t know anything about it myself. I only became aware of this thanks to a message from a friend. “Hey, someone is using your pictures,” he wrote to me. A screenshot of the profile of Sandra (26). At least that’s what this person who uses my pictures for their Tinder profile calls themselves. Of course without my permission – stolen from my Instagram profile.

“In the worst case scenario, separation can occur.”

It was a great shock when my own face smiled at me on a screenshot of this dating platform. My first thought: “What’s that supposed to mean?” Bewilderment, incomprehension, but above all anger – feelings that, according to psychologist Felix Hof, are normal: “The misuse of personal photos for a fake profile is very hurtful, degrading and shocking. In any case, it leaves a lot of self-uncertainty and fear.”

Then the second thought: “What will my friend say to that?” While it makes me more than uncomfortable to know that other men can now swipe “me” left or right, my boyfriend doesn’t care. But not every partner reacts so calmly. Hof explains what a fake account can do to a relationship: “If a partner discovers a fake profile on a dating app, a relationship conflict is inevitable. The question of trust immediately arises and sometimes a serious relationship crisis occurs. In the worst case, it can even lead to a separation if the explanations are not enough for the partner.”

Who creates such a fake profile?

There is no number as to how many people in this country are affected by so-called identity theft. However, the number of unreported cases is likely to be high, according to Cybercrimepolice, a member of the Zurich Cantonal Police. To be honest, it’s not the first time something like this has happened to me. And I keep asking myself this one question: Who creates such a fake profile?

Felix Hof has a clear opinion: “They are usually very shy, needy people who have little sociability and are unsure of their sexual identity.”

People with this personality are so insecure and anxious that they cannot and do not want to stand up for themselves. “Any hint of their identity is seen as a threat. “In addition, they also want to survive in the competition and assume that this can be done better with other images,” Hof continued. But there is also another group of people: “Other people create fake profiles with fraudulent intentions.”

Cybercrimepolice also agrees: “The phenomenon of fake dating profiles is used in various forms, including for romance scams.” This means that by building trust, the fraudsters intend to gain access to the other person’s assets or personal data.

There is no happy ending here – at least not for me. Because I don’t know if the profile is still circulating on Tinder. It was reported by my friend, but I don’t know anything more. And: A request to Tinder remained unanswered. Unfortunately, I still don’t know what happens to reported users, how often it happens and how it can be prevented.

This is what the Zurich cantonal police say

When asked, the Zurich cantonal police said: “On September 1, 2023, with the revision of the Data Protection Act (DSG), the new article Art. 179decies StGB was created. It goes under the title “Identity Abuse”: “Anyone who uses the identity of another person without their consent in order to harm them or to gain an unlawful advantage for themselves or a third party will, upon request, be punished with a prison sentence of up to one year or a fine .»

Various factors are decisive, which are ultimately relevant under criminal law. In this regard, the Zurich Canton Police also appeal to users to check which images they make publicly available and how privacy is set up on the platforms.

And further: If the images/content were obtained by the perpetrators through hacking/phishing or are used to create fraud, defamatory images, etc., for example, a report can be filed with the police. When making a report, the police should be given as many screenshots of the original profile and fake profile as possible; if possible also in digital form. The Zurich Canton Police also recommend that users immediately contact the platform operators after such a discovery and request that it be blocked/deleted.

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author avatar
Barack
As an experienced journalist, expert in useful tips, I have a passion for providing valuable information and practical guides to a wide audience. My articles are characterized by thorough research and verification of reliable sources that ensure the quality and accuracy of every information I provide
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