One afternoon I heard the familiar sound of a Facebook message coming from my laptop so I looked over to see a message saying “Kelly are you back in Sydney?”. Immediately I was confused, considering the fact that I had moved back to Texas and my friends knew where I was. I immediately responded by saying no and asking why my friend had asked me that. What he replied back with, I never saw coming.
Turns out while swiping around Tinder one day one of my friends found a profile using my pictures. I quickly asked my friend to swipe right so we could get more information, but apparently he swiped left which meant that any interaction between that friend and fake me would be gone forever.
Feeling more than a little creeped out I decided to email Tinder to see if they could offer any help. Although I knew it was a long shot since all I had was a picture, I figured it was worth a shot right? Tinder has to at least mildly care about the safety of it’s users and when people using other people’s identities? Let’s be honest here, it’s an online dating site so who knows what someone using a fake dating account is using it for. I figured they’re most likely using the account for spam, but it’s kind of hard to see when you’re about 8,500 miles away.
So I emailed Tinder Support this message:
“Hi there Tinder Support!
My name is Kelly —— and I believe that someone is using my pictures for a fake Tinder account. I already have a Tinder account linked to my facebook, however recently my friend found another account using one of my photos. Unfortunately for me he swiped left, leaving me no real way to track them. What I do know is that they are using the photo I have attached in this email, originally from this URL: (url has been removed) The fake me is in Sydney, Australia (where I previously lived), However I now live in Texas.
I’m not sure what you guys can really do since all I have is a picture and a location, but any assistance you can offer is greatly appreciated. As you can imagine it’s pretty unsettling knowing someone is using your photos on a dating app for who knows what reason in a country that I no longer live in! Thank you for any advice or assistance you can offer me.”
Which led to this response:
Each Tinder profile is tied to a unique Facebook account. If someone is impersonating you, please contact Facebook’s help center to file a report.
I know it’s hard to track down people based on a photo, but Tinder did not give a single care about this fake account.
I tried to go to Facebook to report, but you need an actual Facebook page to report. There’s not really a way to link a Tinder account to Facebook, leaving this hunt essentially dead. Surely I can’t be the first person for this to have happened to, surely they should have some kind of policy for fake accounts instead of a message basically saying “not our problem”. Again I have to question what a person is using a fake dating account for? At this point the best I can really hope for is spamming people as opposed to something more nefarious. I understand that once I put an image on the Internet it’s free game, but knowing there’s someone using my pictures and possibly pretending to be me in a country I no longer live in is pretty creepy. Do I know this person, is it a friend of a friend or some random who happened to find me? What’s the point of a fake Tinder account anyways?
This experience has left me with so many questions as well as a reminder about how creepy the internet can get. Previously I tried to rally my friends to see if they could find “me” and try and have a conversation with her. None of my friends in Sydney said they ever found “me” so at best I can hope the account has shut down. With the impressive lack of any care from Tinder and no way to shut it down on Facebook, I may never really know who this person is or what they’re using it for. But hey maybe if I ever return to Sydney I’ll have lots of dates lined up for me, right?
To be fair, the photo they stole doesn’t give away too much. Someone could easily pretend that this is them considering you can’t see my full face. Somehow that makes the situation slightly weirder. Did they choose this picture specifically so that if they were questioned about why they look different from the photo they could say you can’t really see the face in the picture or something of that nature? Who knows, I most likely never will.