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Netflix's Tinder Swindler: 'I Lost $60,000 To My Ex Partner. It Could Happen To Anyone'

Ali Condon

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Netflix's Tinder Swindler: 'I Lost $60,000 To My Ex Partner. It Could Happen To Anyone'

Featured Image Credit: Instagram

The Tinder Swindler is everyone's new favourite documentary and viewers can't get enough of the unbelievable story of Simon Leviev and his victims.

While most fans are simply fascinated by the conman who infamously used Tinder to trick women out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, for others it's hitting a little close to home.

One woman who tuned into The Tinder Swindler felt compelled to speak out when she realised a lot of fans were resorting to victim blaming.

Speaking to Tyla, Nikoleta admitted that the reaction to the documentary struck a nerve with her.

(Credit: Supplied)
(Credit: Supplied)

She said: "I was reading their social media and some women were calling [the victims] gold diggers. A gold digger is someone who, if you ask for help, they won't give you a penny.

"But these women went above and beyond to help somebody who had promised them the world. That happens everywhere. That happened to me."

Nikoleta was 20 years old and had just moved from Albania to Boston, Massachusetts when she met her very own "Swindler".

Both from Albania and new to the States, the pair quickly bonded and soon started dating. |n the beginning, Nikoleta was happy to assist her new boyfriend, helping him out with his papers and finances so he could get a job - but it wasn't long before he started to take advantage.

The first big payout came after a few months of dating, when the couple decided to invest in a car together so they could visit each other more often.


After much discussion, Nikoleta offered to lend her boyfriend $10,000 (£7370) to buy himself a car.

"I told him: 'I was going to buy a car myself but you can buy a car first because you know how to drive and I don't. You can teach me.'"

Not long after she paid for his car, Nikoleta's boyfriend told her that he desperately wanted to move to Florida because he "couldn't stand it in Boston. It was too cold."

Taking the car with him, he packed up his things and moved to the sunshine state, turning their new relationship into a long-distance one.

The Tinder Swindler victims were not unusual cases. (Credit: Netflix)
The Tinder Swindler victims were not unusual cases. (Credit: Netflix)

The two regularly visited one another, but Nikoleta says that she paid for almost everything. While her partner insisted that he had found work in Florida, he made excuses that his money was going to his family or that his credit card 'wasn't working'.

On one of her boyfriend's visits to Boston (which she paid for), Nikoleta discovered that a large sum of cash had been stolen from her purse in their hotel room, but no housekeeping services had been through their floor.

She tells Tyla: "I kind of had this feeling that he probably had it, but I didn't say anything because you can't make accusations. This was the guy that I was with and I was very much in love with him."

It ended up being one of many mysterious disappearances over the course of their relationship.

Deciding to turn a blind eye to the missing cash, Nikoleta continued her relationship with her boyfriend as normal. But as the years went on, she found herself lending him more and more money for all sorts of ventures, from a downpayment on a house in Florida to a loan to start his own business.

Rationalising the loans, Nikoleta told Tyla: "If you're not going to help somebody through tough times then when are you going to help them?"

The couple had started discussing marriage and children, so naturally, Nikoleta felt their relationship would stand the test of time. To her, helping your long-term partner through hardships is to be expected, so when her partner needed a loan, she didn't think twice.

It wasn't until five years into the relationship that she realised that her boyfriend never considered himself her boyfriend. To his friends and relatives, she was just a friend. Even further down the line, she discovered that he had been seeing other women while he was in Florida.

Finally, enough was enough and Nikoleta called things off.

Nikoleta was furious when she saw the victim blaming response to the Tinder Swindler. (Credit: Netflix)
Nikoleta was furious when she saw the victim blaming response to the Tinder Swindler. (Credit: Netflix)

Even after their relationship came to and end, Nikoleta's ex would regularly get in touch to ask for loans when he was stuck.

She now describes those years as the most "emotionally draining period of [her] life" and estimates that she loaned her ex $60,000 (£44200) over that period. It was only after threatening to take him to court that she was paid back a grand total of $4,000 (£2950).

When the Tinder Swindler first hit Netflix, a part of her felt vindicated seeing other women in similar situations get their own back. But when viewers began victim blaming, Nikoleta felt she had to speak up.

"This can happen to anybody. These people are manipulators, narcissists, they know how to play the game. And if you love somebody sincerely, from the bottom of your heart, you will help them through hardships. It's very hard to see the red flags when you're totally involved."

The Tinder Swindler is available to stream now on Netflix.

Topics: Real Life

Ali Condon
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