I watched the first half of The Tinder Swindler with a smile because a real fairy tale had unfolded before me! But then the prince’s image blurred, and I wanted to check if my credit card was in place.
Let me remind you that the film tells the real story of the adventures of an enterprising young swindler who stole the minds, hearts, and wallets of unlucky Scandinavian ladies using fictitious names and a rather pretty appearance. Thus, the young man earned about ten million dollars.
What can I say about this? – Unfortunately, it is a typical story.
There are some valuable things we can learn from this semi-fictional story. Today, using the example of the documentary film Tinder Swindler, let’s look at what manipulations the scammer used for his purposes.
The Tinder Swindler manipulations.
In my opinion, the basis of the young swindler’s successful business plan was the manipulation of greed or profit.
How it works? – The girls are offered to feel incredible benefit, to mentally take possession of such a desired goal, to feel like a “winner in life.» Then, victims are forced to pay “a little” for this possession.
In real life, the victim happily pays because she has almost won, has almost taken possession of her dream, and begins to perceive the costs as investments. The more the wounded person immerses herself in the process of anticipation, the more she pays, and the more she pays, the more she anticipates.
It is simple, primitive and effective.
Let’s look closely at the Tinder Swindler ( Simon Leviev) female manipulations in this film.
Bright wow dates.
Simon Leviev invited girls on memorable dates, for example, on board a private jet. He took them to different countries, gave them expensive gifts, promised to marry them, and chose an apartment to live in together. The courtship stage could last for several months. And if the girl did not want love with him, Leviev maintained close, friendly relations with her.
Testing girls’ personal boundaries and gullibility.
Simon violated the girls’ boundaries all the time. Literally, on the day they met, Simon invited Cecilie on a business trip to Bulgaria with him, explaining that he urgently needed to fly away on business. Still, he also wanted to talk to her. If it were an office worker, Cecilie would hardly have taken off. But then she was sympathetic to his schedule since the man was so busy.
Another manifestation of boundary violation: Simon takes his daughter and his daughter’s mother on this business trip. Is it possible to introduce a virtual stranger to your child? No, you can not. But Cecilie sees this as a sign of high trust.
He offers Pernilla a plane ticket to meet her in another country. And without hesitation, the girl gives him her personal information. What a courage!
Attunement with victims.
All the girls felt big sympathy for Simon from the first minute. It felt like they had known him for more than ten years. Simon himself is handsome, intelligent, and charming. He listens to them carefully and copies their reactions. And the girls think that he is the one.
Simon’s deceitful emotional revelation to Cecilia.
This episode occurred after intense intimacy. Simon told the girl that he allegedly was in prison and was treated poorly there. Tearful episodes like these make the bond strong. The result is an image of a handsome but vulnerable prince whom you want to take care of. And naturally, the victim is ready to save him. It is also a test for codependency.
Lost connection at the most interesting point.
At the peak of special intimacy, Simon says he has much to do, sends the heroine to her city, and disappears. Such a shake-up creates frustration among girls; they want to continue.
Simon creates a deficit of his attention.
Remember how the hero disappears immediately after a bright acquaintance? After some time, the girls themselves begin to write to him. And Simon realizes that the fish is on the hook!
Overloading the brain with impressions and forcing events.
Everything happens quickly in a relationship with Simon—a fast transition to physical intimacy, a quick declaration of love. Girls don’t have time to analyze the situation: what do they know about the person who offers to be together?
Just as suddenly, news comes about Simon’s problems. Such speed leads to the human body producing a massive amount of adrenaline. This hormone always encourages activity. Under the influence of hormones, Simon’s victims commit rash actions.
The promise of a happy future.
Also, Simon asks the girls to find an apartment to live together. Of course, Cecilia was ready to help her future husband. When we imagine something, we are literally living our thoughts.
The abuser will promise anything to ensure that you grab onto him as the last opportunity in your life.
Reinforcement of correct actions.
Then, the scammer begins to ask the heroines for money. He thanks the girl for every money received and promises a happy future. It is clear reinforcement.
“Swing” mode: intimidation – apologies, threats – declarations of love, demands – pressure on pity.
When the girls try to leave or demand their money back, the abuser becomes angry and hysterical. The “swing” mode is activated: intimidation – apologies, threats – declarations of love, demands – pressure on pity. I remember how Simon wrote, “You are my enemy now,” then “I love you,” and many missed calls. And then the circle starts again.
Don’t blame the victims.
Why did women succumb to manipulation?
The most obvious reason is belief in a fairy tale.
As one of the film’s heroines says, we all grew up on Disney fairy tales and believe a prince will come and lay the world at our feet.
Girls don’t feel worthy and easily fall for false love.
Moreover, all of Simon’s victims are from the middle class, which means they have only a superficial idea about the life of the upper classes based on films and books. They were easy to deceive, pretending to be a “prince.”
Most likely, not all of those whom Simon met succumbed to manipulation. His victims have the desire to help a loved one without thinking and right away. “If I don’t help, then I will be to blame,” “It’s none of my business, but I will help,” and “the life of a loved one depends on me” – these are typical phrases of Rescuers.
When a victim is in love, her critical thinking weakens. She is physiologically incapable of paying attention to “red flags,” analyzing the situation, and thinking soberly. It’s not the victim’s fault—it’s the neurobiology of our brains.
CHECK THESE ARTICLES IF YOU WANT TO READ MORE ABOUT MANIPULATIONS IN RELATIONSHIPS.
The story of Leviev’s machinations ended sadly for all participants except the criminal. He was sentenced to only 15 months in prison, serving only five. Upon his release, he launched courses on running a business.
But the main characters of the film – Cecilia Fjellhøy, Pernilla Sjöholm, and Eileen Charlotte – are still paying off their debts. And they are just a few of Simon’s victims, who defrauded people worldwide out of nearly $10 million.
The story of the Tinder scammer’s victims is a sad one. But even relatively prosperous and not mindless ladies and businesswomen often become victims of marriage scammers. Any woman wants to believe in love and the happiness that has fallen on her.
I hope this story will teach you to recognize gigolos and discourage you from helping others to the detriment of yourself.
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