Others use photos taken from real social media accounts for a more believable profile.
The popular dating app Tinder claims it has made more than 1 billion matches among its users since launching less than two years ago. Last month, Kristin Shotwell, 21, was walking home from class when her friend told her that he had seen her profile pop up on Tinder while visiting the University of Georgia in Athens.There was one problem: Shotwell, a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, had been nowhere near Athens at the time and had never signed up for Tinder.Still, she shrugged it off, until her friends sent her a screen shot of a girl named "Kim." “That is when it hit home, when I saw my face on a bio that had nothing to do with me,” Shotwell told NBC News.Romance scams are nothing new, but the rise of social media has made it even easier for modern criminals to stitch together believable personas from publicly available photos and bits of information.Shotwell said that the photos that her friends saw on Tinder were were images she had posted on Facebook, which she has since made private.In 2012, online dating scams — at least the ones that were reported — cost Americans more than $55 million, according to statistics from the multi-agency Internet Crime Complaint Center.
Tinder is relatively new, so there are not that many statistics on how many fake profiles are floating around out there.
But the company is extremely popular, boasting 10 million users, which is probably why IAC added another 10 percent to its majority stake in the company on Friday for a reported $500 million.
"Because there are so many people using the app, it’s a ripe target for scammers," Satnam Narang, security response manager at Symantec, told NBC News.
Fake Profiles 101 On Tinder, people either swipe left to reject someone or swipe right to accept them.
If two people swipe right, they are matched and can message each other.
Scammers often use bots (software that can answer questions with automated responses) to initiate contact with people looking for a date. If a tan, half-naked model instantly responds to a match with “Heya ;)” it’s probably a bot.