Women warn of Kirklees ‘Tinder Swindler’ who ‘love bombed’ then used terrifying method to swindle £80,000

A group of women have issued a stark warning to dating app users after they were conned out of thousands by Tinder Swindlers in Yorkshire.

Peter Gray, 35, was a calculating fraudster who pretended to be anything his victims wanted. He bombarded several women, leading them to believe he was loyal, genuine and kind, reports The Mirror.

The conman, who met his victims on Tinder, showered the women with gifts and took them out on lavish dates before embarking on his cruel scheme to swindle them out of thousands of pounds. But it wasn’t long before each of the innocent women targeted by Gray began to sense that something was “not quite right.”

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Gray, from Mirfield, West Yorkshire, was eventually jailed for 56 months in February after his cruel and devious passions saw him swindle around £80,000 from four different women. The sinister scammer acted differently than other scammers, experts say.

He never directly asked the victims for their money, but cheated them behind their backs by stealing their identities. A woman, Jessica – not her real name – met him on the dating app in 2018 after getting out of a six-year relationship.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, she said he was “a good listener and everything I needed at the time”. A few weeks after she stopped seeing him, Jessica noticed that a payment of less than £500 had left her account, with a similar payment made the following day.

She later discovered that loans of up to £9,000 had been taken out in her name. At his apartment on the third date, Jessica got up to go to the bathroom and left her bag and purse exposed.

“I left my bag on his table, he went into my bag and took pictures of my driving license and both bank cards,” she revealed.

Peter Gray of MirfieldPeter Gray of Mirfield

Peter Gray from Mirfield – Credit: West Yorkshire Police

When she called the loan company, she discovered that he had used his home address for one of the loans, allowing Jessica to attribute the fraud to Gray. Another victim, Elizabeth – not her real name – who matched with Gray in 2020, had flowers sent to her without her ever telling him where she lived, which raised alarm bells.

Speaking to 5 Live, she recalled the scary moment: “He sent some flowers to my house, I was like ‘how did you know my address?’ Because I never told you where I live.” He told me he went and “forgot”. on your driver’s license and I saw your address because I wanted to do something nice for you,’ and it was kind of like, ‘that’s nice, but it got into my personal stuff.’

“Your feeling was just saying that something is wrong, there is a dark side to him. It makes you doubt yourself and your judgment. He was so good at being the person you wanted him to be.”

Just two days before moving into her new home, Elizabeth’s mortgage was revoked after he used her driving license details to secure a £10,000 loan in her name. Another woman, Hannah, who she also met on Tinder, described Gray as initially “calming and reassuring” but something “wasn’t right”.

When she decided to call off the romance, a week later she received an acceptance letter for a £20,000 loan in her name. The pair rekindled with Gray buying her gifts, but she broke up once again. And when she found out she was pregnant, her sister looked into his past, tracking down one of his exes who warned of his dark secrets.

“There’s no way I’m letting a child be raised around such a vile man,” Hannah said. “My world had literally just shattered before my eyes in that half hour conversation.”

Two of the women were able to use the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, also known as Clare’s Law – which allows people to ask the police to check their partner’s background – to help Gray be convicted.

Speaking about how Gray operated, Dr Elisabeth Carter, associate professor of criminology at Kingston College University, told the radio station: ‘This is an atypical romance fraud. asking them for money didn’t happen.

“The grooming took place, just to get in physical proximity to these women to then take their ID.”

Dr Carter noted that most of the support and information provided by the police and banks talks about what to do if people ask for money and the steps to take to check that it is a genuine request. However, this group had no idea what Gray was doing.

“It’s no wonder these women found themselves in this situation,” she said. “Unfortunately, they blame themselves. What you can do is listen to your body, every single one of these women said they felt something was wrong. But they couldn’t put their finger on it.”

She stressed the importance of talking to other people if a situation doesn’t feel right, which can allow you to bounce ideas off other people and get a second opinion.

She also warned about love bombing, which is now a recognized form of abuse in England. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) recently updated its guidelines on coercive and controlling behavior to recognize the harrowing effect of love bombings, in a move charities have praised.

Ruth Davison, executive director of Refuge, told Cosmopolitan that “it is essential that the criminal justice system recognizes the extent to which perpetrators will (go) in trying to control and manipulate a partner, and this change is a step in the right direction .

“I hope this updated guidance means more survivors are able to seek justice for the crime against them. It is now up to our police forces and our courts to show the perpetrators that this behavior will not be tolerated.”

Speaking about how he often got away with it for some time, Dr Carter said: “Going after the interests of that victim, it’s very nice if someone listens to you, but that’s exactly what these fraudsters do, they take exactly what the person takes . the problems are or history and play on it also make you feel isolated so you don’t want to tell anyone about it.

While the financial damage is obvious when it comes to scams, Dr Carter also mentioned the lasting psychological damage, as many of the women spoke of the damaging impact it had on their trust in others.

“In person, they shared intimate information with each other, it’s a special kind of cheating that is incredibly damaging, with long-term consequences for trust,” she said.

Tinder told the BBC that it “acts to help prevent and alert users to potential scams or fraud, using AI tools to detect words and phrases and proactively intervene.”

“We have implemented various ways to warn users about potential scams or fraud, from in-app features to pop-up messages and education,” a spokesperson said. “All users can request to have their match verified by photo before sending messages. We also work with non-governmental organizations and local authorities to promote awareness of online fraud.”

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