Netflix’s ‘Tinder Swindler’ forces Tinder to introduce criminal background checks feature
Netflix’s documentary ‘Tinder Swindler’ on the serial fraudster Simon Leviev has inspired the dating site to up its safety game. Tinder has announced new tools to let users run background checks on their dates through the app in an attempt to address safety concerns following the exposé by the streaming giant.
Match Group, Tinder’s parent company said that the launch of the ‘safety center’ feature would enable users to access their date’s arrests and convictions for violent crimes as well as the sex offender registry status.“This is the first that's been done in this industry,” Tracey Breeden, head of the safety and social advocacy at Match Group, told the Wall Street Journal. The online dating giant is working with Garbo Technology Corp., a non-profit organization to run background checks.
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However, the Tinder results will exclude arrests and convictions for financial crimes that are more than seven years old and homicides or robberies committed more than 14 years ago, along with arrests and convictions associated with marijuana possession, vandalism as well as loitering laws, WSJ reported.
Garbo Tech further revealed that the time limits for different convictions were determined by criminal justice advocates in order to give people “a chance to change their behavior”. The move comes after the dating app was repeatedly thrown under the bus for sexual assaults and other crimes following the dates matched by the app. It can also be seen as an effect of the Tinder Swindler's reach among the audience.
The Netflix documentary is based on the life of a charming 30-year-old from Israel who operated under several aliases, including Simon Leviev, and is estimated to have conned his victims out of £7.4 million ($10 million). After conning the women, the man was on the run for years before he was finally arrested in 2019 while using a fake passport in Greece.
The jury is still out on how many other women fell for his scams but once he had gained the women's trust, the fraudster would convince them to loan him money under false pretenses. He would later use the money to reel in other victims by flaunting his expensive lifestyle and treating them to lavish gifts and hangouts.