Women on TikTok have a wild theory about how a restaurant in their area could be utilising dating apps to find and scam customers, and it’s the conspiracy theory of the century. Buckle up because you’re in for a wild ride.
It all started after a TikToker was ghosted by her online date. The woman claimed she had arrived to the restaurant her date had asked to meet her at, only to realise when he didn’t show up that he had unmatched her.
Frustrated but all dolled up, the woman decided to buy dinner for herself since she had made the effort to go out, and then returned home… only to see a video of another woman who was also stood up at the same restaurant by someone she matched with on a dating app.
“She found out that there are restaurants now posing as people on dating apps, just so you go to their business,” the woman claimed.
“Once you get stood up, they know that probably nine times out of 10 you’re going to buy something from them, and that just blew my mind!”
The video was stitched by TikToker Shawnda (@lifecoachshawn), who slammed any restaurants who might use dating apps to trick women into becoming paying customers as exploitative.
“Every day I watch women on this app, literally in tears, crying about how hard it is to date, to find a good quality person to share their lives with, to find somebody just decent to talk to,” she said.
“For a restaurant, an actual business, to take advantage of single women, [to exploit] the fact that people want romantic relationships, for a profit? Y’all are too nice, call these restaurants out.”
Do restaurants actually use online dating apps to scam people?
As it turns out, “venue promotion scams” are a real thing. They often happen in the form of a person or bot asking someone on a dating app to meet at a specific restaurant, only to never show up, but that’s not the only way.
According to online technology publication Make Use Of, another version of this scam involves the dating app match who is working with a restaurant to rack up a huge tab while on the date.
Once they’re done eating, they disappear — leaving the victim with a hefty bill, and the venue with a nice sale.
It’s pretty hard to avoid online scams like this one if the person is, well, obviously a person and not a bot, but there are some warning signs you can watch out for.
If a dating app match suggests meeting at a specific restaurant or venue very quickly after you begin speaking, that could be a signal that something is up. If you’re suspicious, try suggesting an alternative, cheaper place to meet up (like a coffee shop or a park date) and see how they respond. If they’re not willing to budge, that could be a red flag.
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