Exploring the Tinder Swindler

The app you can’t even get a decent match on, let alone $10 million dollars like Shimon Hayut. Mika Baumeister via Unsplash

If a man is telling you his enemies have it out for him, those enemies are probably law enforcement.

The Tinder Swindler is a Netflix documentary directed by Felicity Morriss, the producer who brought us the hit documentary Don’t F**k with Cats. The documentary tells the story of women who were duped by a con artist who uses the pseudonym Simon Leviev. He made his money by essentially love bombing women on the dating app Tinder. He would then fake an image of old money wealth, telling women that he was the son of a diamond business owner. Simon scammed $250K out of one of the women, Cecilie Fjellhoy. Another named Pernilla Sjoholm was also lied to, believing that he was the son of a wealthy business mogul named Lev Leviev.

Simon Leviev, born as Shimon Hayut, managed to swindle around $10 million from victims all over the world from 2017-2019.  In 2015, he was sentenced to two years in prison in Finland. By 2019, he was sentenced to 15 months in prison in his home country of Israel. Hayut’s con was able to go on for that long because he would take advantage of people’s need for love and acceptance and genuine, honest human connection. He saw this and jumped at the chance to win the hearts of his victims.

Hayut essentially tricked them into loaning him money with the false premise that he would repay them more than what they had loaned out to him. He would take them to expensive restaurants and fly on private jets using money he had borrowed from other victims he had scammed. Hayut would take advantage of his victim’s empathy by letting them know that he had enemies who were looking for him. These enemies were dangerous people who were out to get him, out to harm him and all of his loved ones. He would then send pictures showing that he and his bodyguard Peter had been attacked by said enemies. He claimed that he was unable to use his bank cards because his enemies might track him.

As a response to the so-called security breach and threats, he would ask his victims to help him out by either loaning him cash or using their credit cards. Some of Hayut’s victims even took out loans to help finance him. He would circle this money retrieved from victims onto potential future victims. Basically, it was all just one massive Ponzi scheme.

When he saw that his victims were worried or getting anxious, Hayut would send them forged cheques and bank transfers. By the end of the documentary, Hayut had been in prison for five months. His victims are still paying off their debts to this day. Out of curiosity, I decided to snoop on his Instagram and what I saw was astounding. It was almost as if he had never been in prison at all. He’s now out, living his best scammer life, posing in private jets, decked out in world-class designer couture. Even though the law seems unable to properly charge someone like him, I feel that people like Shimon Hayut will eventually be punished by divine intervention. In some ways, Hayut is a reflection of society. Appearance matters; image is extremely important. It doesn’t matter if beneath that image there is falsehood. What matters is that the image appeals to people. The takeaway from this? If a man is telling you his enemies are after him, those enemies are probably the feds. If a man is telling you his enemies are after him, those enemies are probably the CIA. If a man is asking you to take out loans for him, tell him to kick rocks or ask his wealthy father. You aren’t the one.


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