Participants in The Tinder Swindler (Netflix) describe their experiences as if they were part of an action movie. On a dating app, one woman says a man seduced her. “Simon Leviev” was his alias. Their first date began in a five-star hotel and ended with a surprise trip on a private jet because the two got along so well. Further down the line, another woman (and there are many) states that she feels as if she is in “a horror movie.”
That Leviev claimed to be the son of a multi-billionaire diamond dealer is not a big surprise given the title of this show. Shimon Hayut is a con man who has been convicted of fraud.
As evidenced by Sweet Bobby and Anna Delvey’s “fake heiress” case, scams are a big draw for viewers. This fits right in with the rest of the canon. It’s a fast-paced, gripping feature-length film that lays everything out clearly and compassionately for the victims.
Cecilie, a serial dater who claims to be “a bit of a Tinder expert,” is the first person we meet. Suddenly, she finds herself sucked into Simon’s vortex. When he flies to Norway to see her, he brings lavish rose bouquets and proposes to move in with him.
In the middle of the nite, he sends her pictures and videos of himself and his bodyguard, bloodied, in danger, and unable to access the vast financial reserves he claims to have.
Then there’s Pernilla, a Swede who appears to have more of an international outlook than Cecilie does. She jokes to the director, “Oh my God, another diamond guy,” when they are paired up. Asked off-camera, “Another diamond guy?” Despite Pernilla not falling for Simon’s charms, they become friends, at least romantically.
With him and his then-girlfriend, a Russian model, she spends a wild summer in Europe’s billionaire hotspots until his enemies’ threats prevent him from accessing his funds, and then, well, you know the drill.
Most of the fascinating aspects of this sad story are presented here. What happens when people’s entire lives are documented online? Cecilie says she Googled Simon because that’s what you do when you’re in a matchmaking situation.
As he claimed, he was found to be exactly who he claimed to be out in the open. His social media accounts seemed to confirm his identity.
These romantic videos and voicemails from Simon are retrieved from women’s messaging archives, and we hear them. In Cecilie’s videos, she can be seen scouting out the high-end apartments Simon told her to rent so they could live together.
This creates a sense of closeness. They had to deal with the social-media verdicts of strangers after their story was finally made public by an in-depth report by VG, a Norwegian newspaper. It would be impossible to believe if this were a fictional story; with each jaw-dropping twist, you wonder how he got away with it.
As a result, these women have been left with irreparable emotional and financial scars. It also explains how he managed to con so many of them to a certain extent. As Simon’s schemes come into focus, they are genuinely mind-boggling in scope.
The Tinder Swindler peels back the layers of the story to reveal the actual victim. It’s all about online dating, internet scams, and the allure of con artists who say just the right thing to entice their victims. This takes a dramatic turn when the Norwegian media and Interpol begin to search for Simon (Tinder Swindler).
Resilience and even revenge are on display as other of Simon’s victims begin to figure out how to get some of her money and her self-esteem back.
Despite their devastating effects on the victims, these crimes are viewed as “small” by the authorities, even though they occur in countries worldwide.
True-crime documentaries on Netflix can be all over the map. It is common for them to be sensationalist, lengthy, and underwhelming. With the Tinder Swindler, you’ll be left wanting more rather than sifting through every nook and cranny. It leaves a lot of questions unanswered, and it doesn’t have a neat ending that would have been ideal. As it turns out, the reality is nothing like the movies we expected it to be.