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UNC student says her identity was stolen on dating app Tinder

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tinder-slideCHAPEL HILL, N.C. — A UNC student says her photos were used to create a fake profile on the dating app Tinder – and she’s starting a campaign to track down “Kim.”

Tinder is a location-based dating app for iOS and Android that uses social graph information from Facebook. Users can browse profiles and “like” or “dislike” a profile.

Users that mutually “like” each other will be linked through the app.

In a blog post, Kristin Shotwell said she recently found out her photos were being used on the dating app.

Shotwell was walking to class when a friend told her she was in Athens, Ga., and found a girl named “Kim” on Tinder who was using Shotwell’s photos.

A user can link their Tinder account to a Facebook account. Shotwell later discovered there is also a fake Facebook account using her photos.

img_8ds025Shotwell is now on a mission to find “Kim” in Athens, Ga.

Because the app can only search for people based on location, Shotwell is asking people who live near Athens to search for Kim and send her an email if they find her.

The popular dating app has 4 million daily active users and has been recently flooded with fake accounts, apparently used by spam bots and hackers to send malware to users.

If real-life users choose to engage with one of the fake accounts, they are sent a link that asks them to download a game and offers a phone number as a gift.

Here’s a security and privacy guide from BitDefender to help Tinder users.

Tinder has issued a statement about the recent surge in spam accounts:

“We are aware of the accounts in question and are taking the necessary steps to remove them. Ensuring an authentic ecosystem has always been and will continue to be our top priority.”


  • bella07

    If you don’t want your photos out there where anyone can see them then don’t make them available anywhere.That is the chance you take!

  • Zeila

    I think this is such an interesting story and a really great blog entry! It’s Kristin’s right to post photos and to look for her imposter. I wish you luck Kristin!

  • kims10s

    I would like to reply to Bella’s comment. If you have done anything outside your home in the last decade, there are public pictures of you on the internet whether you like it or not. Are you saying that if a picture is out there that anyone has the right to take it and use it, dishonestly, as their own? I hope that is not what you meant . If you work at a company with a website, have won any awards, participate in charity events, coach a team, won a science fair or spelling bee, are involved in any sororities, fraternities or community clubs (just to name a few), your picture will be available to the general public. I do not think that this gives anyone the right to use your picture as their own on a dating website or anywhere else for that matter. Let’s keep the blame on the person who committed fraud here, not on the victim.

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