So, I did it. I wanted to see what all the hype was about surrounding the new documentary on Netflix: “The Tinder Swindler”. Must say, I approve and totally recommend. Of course, in usual Mónica style I would decide to write about getting swindled while looking for love on Valentine’s Day.
Now calm yourself, I don’t hate love. To the contrary, I love-love! I totally do. For instance: Today while on the way to pick up my son from school, I was stuck at a red light. My mother went along for the ride, we turn our heads to the right to see a woman come out of a Dentist’s office (she was wearing scrubs, so safe to assume she worked there). Out of the corner, making his way towards her, walks a man carrying a beautiful bouquet of roses and some type of gift. She looked so surprised and so happy, and he was just in the moment with a big cheesy smile. My mom and I started clapping and shouting, she looked over and saw us and started laughing. I.loved.it. Seeing that display of affection, made me so happy.
As I rooted for that anonymous couple in the street, I will root for everyone else. Which is probably why I love Rom-Coms so darn much.
Anyways, back to the film. Everyone was talking about it, but I didn’t know much about it. This podcast I follow was going to do an Instagram live with another podcaster on how to avoid getting financially swindled. I read the comments on the announcement post for some insight, people were tearing these women up. Was it that bad? I mentioned my interest to my Guncle, he warned “You’re gonna get mad at the first two women.” “First two”? How many were there? What exactly happened?”
So, between getting ready to go out on my monthly mami night out, I watched. Here’s the premise: “The Tinder Swindler” on Netflix introduces us to Simon Leviev – the conman who met women on Tinder, posed as a billionaire and conned them out of their lifesavings. Depending the time he met you he was either a dimond heir or an Israeli Arms dealer.
My Guncle, was right. I did get upset at the women. Initially you can’t help but think “Que pende…” “Hell na, that would never happen to me! “or “First time he asks me for money, boy bye!”So many initial reactions, but I later realized-We’ve all been swindled one way or another.
As I continued to watch, I got sad. I felt their hurt. I could see how devastated they were and how much courage it took to say: “Look this fucker, fooled me. I fell for his stupid shit. But I wasn’t the only one and I’m willing to share my story so he doesn’t do this again.” It takes major ovaries, to be so vulnerable and put it all out there on the line for the world to see. Let’s face it, some of us can be so mean sometimes. We can be quick to judge. “That, will never happen to me”.
Wrong. It probably has. It probably will. We’ve all fallen for something or someone that didn’t turn out accordingly. We’ve all been swindled one way or another. Maybe our swindle didn’t leave us in financial ruin, like Simon did to these women. But it might have left us with emotional trauma or baggage.
Look I’ll be honest, when it comes to money. I’m solid. I won’t be co-signing or putting something in my name for someone else. No joke. I won’t even co-sign for my momma, I love her, but I don’t trust her financially. I had a boyfriend once who tried to convince me to get a car stereo system under my name. Hard pass for me. He tried a couple more times, gave him the same answer and eventually he stopped asking. Here’s the thing, though. I learned about financial swindling from my mom, one of her partners did that to her-left my poor mother with a truck payment she was now responsible for, and a refrigerator note that I ended up paying to help her out. Through her, I learned.
But romantically or emotionally, that’s a different story. I might have not lost hundreds of thousands of dollars, but the hurt and that constant sensation of “How did I let this happen?” weighs about the same on the soul at night. Keeping you awake agonizing about the many signs you didn’t see, creating some of your own as you keep spiraling out of control.
It’s not just your heart, swindlers come at you in every direction. Did you ever apply for a job that said the starting wage was higher, but then they flipped the script on you and are offering less? Did you interview and get really happy when they offered you the position because everyone you met through the interview process seemed so nice, only to find out the work environment is toxic as heck? Swindled.
Bought a used car, only to find out it needs new tires, or starts shaking once it reaches 60 mph? Swindled.
That best friend that did you wrong, who you thought was your ride or die. Swindled.
Those of you that buy or bought Herbalife-Swindled.
What about that Fyre Festival? Swindle of a lifetime.
President 45…must I even say it?
Those of you that answered the newspaper ad, you know which one. Who doesn’t want to make more money? Who doesn’t want to triple their savings? Only to realize that in order to make money, you have to invest quite a bit of your own. Or even worse, bring in people-along the lines of a Pyramid Scheme. Swindled.
We’ve all gone through it. We’ve all been swindled. We just didn’t make a documentary out of it, or lose money. But we’ve all been there. This is why I recanted my initial judgement and was left with anger. Not at the women, but at the system. How can this man still be walking around as if nothing happened? Why can’t he be liable for the chaos he created? Why in the bloody hell is American Express still making these women pay when they know their was fraud involved? I guess they too like Simon have to get their money somehow. I don’t like it.
I get it, we all want to believe that we wouldn’t be so gullible. That we wouldn’t be so blinded by love, that we would know better. It’s easy to say when you are on the outside looking in, versus in the eye of the storm. We should just quiet down and take a seat. You never know how you will react until you are in that situation. You might surprise yourself or you might kick yourself later-who knows and that’s the point. You don’t. Do you really think these women thought they were being lied to? They trusted this person, they loved this person, because he had not given them a reason not to. He knew what he was doing, he knew how to play the game perfectly. He was ruthless to women that cared for him, friends or lovers, they were all targets to him.
I still remember some of the extremely harsh comments, especially those that couldn’t believe that one of them was still on Tinder. Why wouldn’t she be? It wasn’t the applications fault. She still has a right to look for love, I’m sure she learned her lesson. Plus, I’m sure that after this documentary, no man will play her like Simon did. Not because he’s one of a kind, but they’ll realize she’s broke, she does have a huge ass debt to pay, and hopefully because she learned her lesson. I’m sure her guard is up.
Folx, we’ve all been swindled. It’s not the best feeling in the world, you feel so stupid and have a hard time forgiving yourself. I know I have…but you can’t give up or judge someone because you think you would have better sense. If you believe the latter to be true, then honey you-yourself are the biggest swindler and you got yourself believing your own lies.
“Judging is for the weak. Understanding is for the strong”Unknown
Here’s some Bonus material, one of my favorite money Podcasters, Jannese Torres-Rodriguez, Yo Quiero Dinero™ sits down with someone who was scammed out of money from the hands of a scammer. Like I said, this is something that can happen to all of us.