The Ten Commandments written in black and blue font against a blue sky with puffy white clouds.

The Tinder Commandments

The Tinder Swindler won’t strike again, if writer Jessica Shaw can help it.

1 June 20224 min read

How to explain our current cultural obsession with scam-umentaries and scam-daptations?  There’s a dose of relief that we were nowhere near being asked to be interviewed (unless you were, in which case, our apologies that your dog won’t become immortal.). Possibly a dollop of schadenfreude, with a maraschino cherry of shock. And, of course, an undercurrent of empathy, since we all feel a bit scammed out of the past two years by COVID, which was way more devastating than any crypto crime could ever be. 

Whatever the reason, there is no doubt we can’t get enough of the jaw-dropping, instantly-texting-all-your-friends “Oh my god, why on earth did they believe that?” and “How in Xenu’s name did they get away with that?” moments that come fast and furiously in series like Inventing Anna; Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives.; and Trust No One: The Hunt for the Crypto King. It’s not easy to go back to regular ole drama after witnessing ripped-from-the-headlines scandals involving extravagant Moroccan vacations, Domino’s pizza-eating vegans, imaginary money, and Natori undergarments at Rikers Island. 

But none of these series pierced our hearts more than The Tinder Swindler, in which “Simon Leviev,” who claimed to be a diamond mogul’s son, scammed his dates out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, spending that money living large with the next lucky lady (ahem, target) on yachts, in 5-star hotels, and coasting around on private planes. (He committed plenty of sartorial crimes as well, for which we sentence him to life in fashion prison.) It was a romance-based pyramid scheme, in short. 

Though Simon is now barred from the app, if you’re a member of the frequent swiper club, you are probably still having nightmares about The Tinder Swindler. So, because we can’t really help the other shows’ victims — and, frankly, because Simon is the only subject who doesn’t seem to show any remorse whatsoever — we’ve decided to share some tips for unsuspecting single women who didn’t pay enough attention while watching so there isn’t a sequel to this particular story.

A man walking in new loafers towards a private plane.

How To Not Date “Simon Leviev” aka The Tinder Swindler

Dear People Looking for Love, you might be on Tinder, or the very specific dating app for meeting farmers, or even perfecting your “come hither” look in the produce section at the grocery store. You might be hitting the bars or typing “A/S/L” into a message board chatroom or living your best life in Second Life. No matter your romantic preferences, here are 10 commandments so you don’t end up in debt to a slew of Scandinavian creditors!

1. Thou shalt not get on a private plane to Bulgaria on your first date. Sure, a trip to Nina Dobrev’s homeland might seem romantic at first. But if thou truly considers it, thou should really listen to thine friend Mathilde when she says, “Wait, WHAT?!” If thou dost not listen to Mathilde, thou shalt never use the acronym YOLO with a light heart again.

2. Thou shalt not trust anyone who calls himself a “prince,” whether of diamonds or anything else, unless you can fact-check this with the Queen herself. If thou trusts, thou will cringe when he later calls himself a “homeless king” and begins donning a fast-food paper crown.

3. Thou shalt not date people who go to billionaire’s clubs in Mykonos. Full stop. 

4. Thou shalt not send thine passport — or most other personally identifiable information, for that matter — to a new boyfriend.

5. Thou shalt not loan thousands of dollars to your super rich boyfriend if you’re pretty sure his super rich family could front him cash if he really needed it. 

6. That last one bears repeating: Thou really should not mortgage your present and future life for any guy, scammer or not. 

7. Thou shalt not give out your mother’s phone number to a new boyfriend. Honestly, no good can come of this, whether or not he’s cheating on you. While we’re on the topic, thou shalt not date anyone who hasn’t spoken to his mother since he was 18. 

8. Thou shalt not date someone who sends you hideously garish bouquets of flowers, whether or not they’re accompanied by a gorgeous stuffed animal. Even if it’s your favorite animal, and it’s wearing a cute bow.

9. Thou shalt not date anyone who brings you along to his elective plastic surgery appointment in Prague. Thou shalt apply this commandment to all cities and towns of the world.

10. Thou shalt not date Simon Leviev (or any of the man’s other aliases).