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By Audrey Kemp, LA Reporter

October 3, 2023 | 6 min read

In a ‘fetch’ PSA released October 3 (which also happens to be World Romance Scam Prevention Day), the actor teaches Tinder users to ‘swipe left’ on online fraudsters.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been personally victimized by Regina George (or the Tinder Swindler).

A new campaign from Tinder aims to help users avoid both. On October 3 (an unofficial holiday for fans of the cult classic film Mean Girls), the dating app is launching a new PSA fronted by Mean Girls actor Jonathan Bennett.

Mean Girls buffs might not know that World Romance Scam Prevention Day – a day dedicated to helping raise awareness of online financial scams and other toxic behaviors – also falls on October 3. Therefore, in the spot, Bennett reprises his famous role as Aaron Samuels as he educates viewers on how to identify and avoid romance scams.

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“Fans have a lot of fun celebrating all their favorite memes and quotes every October 3, but it’s also important that we can take this day to acknowledge some important lessons about how we interact with others online,” said Bennett. “We want everyone to continue to recognize this day while also being more aware of the types of common behaviors of online scammers to watch out for.”

Although the campaign is timed to the film’s 15th anniversary, it’s not just about nostalgia. The PSA is targeted at younger audiences, who typically believe romance scams only happen to older online users. However, the FBI reports that crypto scams, such as ’Pig Butchering,’ are now the largest financial scam in the US, totaling over $3bn in scam losses in 2022. Additionally, while older adults currently report the most romance scams, reports made by younger adults are increasing each year.

“At Tinder, we are proud to lead on safety efforts and create campaigns that are both beneficial and culturally relevant that can help drive more awareness and make dating safer on our app and across online platforms,” said Stephanie Danzi, senior vice-president of global marketing at Tinder. “On World Romance Scam Prevention Day, we are educating our users of all ages on ways to protect themselves so they do not fall victim to online fraudulent scams.”

The campaign was created in partnership with the nonprofit organization Advocating Against Romance Scammers (AARS) and Tinder’s agency of record Mischief @ No Fixed Address.

“World Romance Scam Prevention Day aims to squash stigmas that prevent approximately 97% of victims from reporting and obtaining justice,” said Kathy Waters, executive director of Advocating Against Romance Scammers. “Advocating Against Romance Scammers created this day to help bring together every global entity affected by the scams to increase awareness and help others understand the severity of the controlled manipulation in order for the fraud to succeed.”

Along with the rollout of Tinder’s campaign, Hinge is also sending in-app messages to users encouraging them to never send money or take investment advice from someone they’ve never met or don’t know.

The video will be running across Tinder and Match Group’s social media channels and paid digital media.

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Marcus Lim, art director at Mischief, added: “Romance scams are a way bigger deal than a lot of people realize; so many people end up getting tricked or manipulated when they’re just trying to meet someone. But since World Romance Scam Prevention Day and Mean Girls Day both fall on October 3, Tinder presented us with the perfect chance to raise awareness of all the ‘mean people’ online. And there wasn’t a more perfect person to deliver the message than Jonathan Bennett, who made the day so iconic in the first place.”

The work builds on Match Group’s public awareness campaign from January, which shared with users ways they can protect themselves from online scams. In recent years, Match Group’s brands have introduced new features, from selfie verification and video chat to sending popup messages with safety tips if certain language is detected in conversations, in an effort to reduce scams and other crimes.

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