The Tinder Swindler – Netflix – a documentary that makes you feel like you could be living your worse life

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Netflix introduces a lot of interesting titles from time to time. On 2 February 2022, it released an engrossing documentary titled The Tinder Swindler. For me, I actually watched this show not knowing the title, so the first 30 minutes of the show built up a completely different story to the story I thought was going to be told. Nevertheless, this documentary is captivating and worth watching as it provides a life lesson through the unfortunate experiences of three women.

After watching this documentary, it occurred to me that I actually remember reading about these stories. It seems weird that the documentary is only showing now after first reading about these stories back in 2017. Also, it seems like Netflix is keen on making this documentary into a film. But I think this documentary is enough, it has all the thrills you need and the lesson at the end of the documentary is just as powerful as any film.

Beware spoilers if you continue reading.

The documentary starts with an almost fantasy setting where a very attractive woman tells us of her experience using Tinder and being matched up with a guy called Simon Leviev, the supposed heir to current proprietor Lev Leviev, the owner of a diamond empire. Simon dubs himself the “Prince of Diamonds”. At first, it seems to us and to her that she has hit the jackpot. The man is wealthy, is heir to a luxury business, and has all the photos and cues to show that he has it all – private planes, private boats, private security, etc. As part of her due diligence (which is limited and completely understandable), she searches him on the internet and everything seems legit.

Their first date happens to be a five star hotel. From all appearances, Simon is doing everything you would expect from a high roller being greeted by name at the venue and having the ability to order everything on the menu. In this encounter, not only does she fall for him on a personal level with the easy conversation and charisma, she is led to believe with little doubt that Simon is fabulously rich, always busy with his business, and constantly on the move. To add to this fantasy, her first night involves being driven home in a luxury limousine and receiving flowers at her door. Her next experiences involve flying on a private plane, flying with Simon’s son and the son’s mother, and things you would expect a busy person with wealth to be doing.

This fantasy lasts only a little while…

Trouble brews when Simon and his entourage are hounded by his “enemies”. Simon provides proof that he is being attacked with photos and videos showing blood on his security guy’s head and other photos showing that him and his “team” are in mortal danger. It is at this point that Simon asks for help from the only person (who believes they are the only one who can help). He starts by asking to borrow $25,000 with a promise to pay back… with even more requests for money until he realizes he has drained the piggy bank.

The documentary does a great job of unraveling the events and it’s worth watching even as a guy, because you learn about things you never appreciate before. You learn a lot about these scams and tell signs. The lesson this documentary sheds is powerful, it is simply sometimes things are just too good to be true. No truer words could be said. For these women, and we get to experience the stories of three women in this documentary, who fell for this elaborate scam, they lose everything and it’s lifechanging. For viewers, this is devastating on so many levels, because what started off as an innocent adventure turned out to be their worst nightmare. This scam affected so many more women who have not come forward.

What’s worse is that these women are still heavily indebted, some borrowed upwards of $350,000 to give to their boyfriend, and Simon Leviev (real name Shimon Hayut) has served a merger prison term and is right now running his own business as a consultant with website and everything, plus an Instagram page (which has since been taken down) where he is able to show-off (what appears to be newfound) wealth.

By the end of the documentary, I feel sad for these women who lost so much and will likely affected them for many years to come. The documentary does touch on how social media has behaved with some calling the women “silly” or “gold diggers”, but I would be one to sympathize. Scams come in all shapes and sizes and lessons you learn from others are worth learning if it means you can spot the trap when it is sprung. But also, don’t give people money if they ask for it, especially when you only know them for a short time.

I had a few words with my wife and we are both in agreement that something more needs to be happen to this scammer and for there to be some justice to these women. But well done to Netflix on putting together such a captivating documentary.

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