Though the following content is sponsored in the sense that I have been paid to write something on the topic, all opinions expressed therein are my own and none are withheld, even if critical. This is a nonnegotiable stipulation to such deals (and the main reason you don’t see more sponsored content on SwipeHelper.)
If you’re worried your husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, or cat may be cheating on you, and you suspect they’re using Tinder to do it, you might find yourself confronted with an ethical dilemma. You could check their phone for the presence of any Tinder account while they’re distracted, but then that would be an invasion of their privacy. If you find nothing, you’d be left with a bad conscience. On the other hand, if they are cheating on you, wouldn’t it be better to find out now rather than later?
The dilemma you’re facing may also be of a more practical than ethical nature. I.e. their phone is password protected and you don’t know the magic words, or you suspect they’re smart enough to delete the Tinder app whenever they’re not actively using it, leaving you with a potential false negative after checking.
In any case, if you really want to know for sure whether or not your SO is using Tinder behind your back, and you don’t want to (or cannot) go as far as snooping around in their phone, there is a solution and its name is Cheaterbuster.net (formerly known as Swipebuster).
- 1 How it works
- 2 Alternate Uses
- 3 Pricing
- 4 Potential Privacy-, or Ethical Issues
- 5 Verdict
How it works
After creating a user account on the site, it’s as simple as providing the target’s first name, age, and rough location of where you think they used Tinder (good guesses are home, work, or favorite hangout spot). Don’t forget to select their gender, or you will have wasted a search.
Well, there were no results for “Slagathor”, so I guess my neighbor’s cat is faithful after all. If I search by a more ubiquitous name, though: Paydirt.
As we can see, cheaterbuster will display all Tinder profiles of the chosen name, within a +- 1 year range of the provided age. You do get the option of widening the (geographical) search radius a bit after the original search (no extra cost).
If you didn’t find your SO during this initial search, you can be almost completely sure they don’t (and didn’t) have a Tinder profile, assuming you searched all the likely areas where they might use Tinder. Now go and give them a hug.
What to do if you find your SO
Say one of these Michelles is actually yours… Don’t panic just yet. Open their profile first, and see when the information is from. The thing is that Cheaterbuster stores all Tinder profiles indefinitely, even old, inactive ones.
Phew, this particular Michelle was last found on January first, almost a year ago. Maybe you met through Tinder after this, so everything would appear to be fine. Except, this is just the last time the profile was seen during a wide scrape of Tinder. To be 100% sure whether or not they’re still active, you’d have to update the info. Which brings us to Cheaterbuster’s extra features.
- This search can only find their profile if they used their real name and age.
- To find a profile with a fake name, you’d have to go by location, show all profiles for that area, and look through the pictures.
- If they also lied about their age, you’d have to repeat the search for all feasible ages they could have used.
In addition to the regular search, which brings up all profiles as seen the last time Tinder was scraped and doesn’t include anything beyond pictures and name, you get the options of updating, or “super updating” a particular profile.
By choosing to update a profile, you receive the following additional information:
- Up to date profile status: When they were last online, or whether their profile is even still active or closed/deleted
- Current profile pictures, if they changed since the last basic search (you “lose” the old pictures this way, by the way)
- Profile info, such as bio, school, work
- Premium subscriber status (looks like I will have to update that question in the F.A.Q.)
After using the update function, you can almost be sure about whether or not they’re still using Tinder. If we choose to update the previous profile, we get this:
It appears we have a neutral news/bad news situation.
Neutral news: She hasn’t been found during a search since January 21st, so nothing has changed in that regard. There are also no new pictures. This does not conclusively prove that she hasn’t been active at any point since January first, but she hasn’t appeared in any Cheaterbuster data scrapes since then.
Bad news: She also hasn’t closed (deleted or hidden) her profile, but that may just be due to thinking deleting the app would suffice. I would recommend not bringing up the topic.
Now what? Hopefully, your fears have been assuaged and you can rest easy now, and maybe trust your SO going forward. Alternatively, you may update the profile again in the future, even if it was closed.
The super update function provides the same extra information as the regular update, plus:
- Last known location (of using Tinder), within 2 miles.
- Whether or not their profile is still active. Active as in, “can be seen by people who have their last location in their search radius”.
The results would look like this:
The upper profile is an example of a recently active one that can be seen by Tinder users.
The lower one is our “Michelle” from before. She was not found. One more layer of confirmation that she hasn’t been using Tinder lately. To be even more sure, you could use super update again in a month, and if her last location has changed even slightly, that would be an indication of her having been active at some point since the last update.
Finally, for the ultra paranoid (or perhaps for those who have been burned before), Cheaterbuster’s weekly update, as the name implies, performs a weekly super update of the targeted user, and informs you of the new status by email. Great if you wanna keep tabs on your SO, or a foreign agent, but I would suggest seeing a counselor instead if the trust issues run that deep.
Estimating your (elo) score, or scoping out the competition
As mentioned above, once a search for a name, age and location has been performed, it’s possible to “See all results for this area”, which will bring up all profiles that fall into the specified age range and gender, regardless of name.
Since Cheaterbuster‘s results are not adjusted for your personal desirability score in the eyes of Tinder’s algorithm, you get an unfiltered view of the actual Tinder population in that/your area. This means you could compare these results to the selection of profiles Tinder shows you, and get an idea of your score. If the profiles Tinder shows you are usually much more or less attractive than what you’re seeing here, that should tell you all you need to know about what Tinder thinks of you.
You could also disregard the personal search completely (some name plus the age and gender you prefer, then directly “show all”) and compare different regions of the world to satisfy your curiosity without the coloring of Tinder Passport‘s filtered results.
If you perform a search for your own gender, however, you could get a glimpse of the competition you’re dealing with.
Estimating Tinder user numbers
Next up you could get the idea of using these results to gauge user numbers and male/female user distributions for an area. I sure did. The problem is that Cheaterbuster’s results include inactive profiles, so that would falsify the data. You’d have to bring up every profile and check if it’s still active to get reliable numbers. It might still hold some value for male/female ratios though, just not current.
Cheaterbuster searches are not exactly free, or cheap for that matter, especially if you want to delve deep, but the pricing is fair and communicated transparently ($9.99 per search credit). For example, when performing a super update, the last location feature failed, and as a result, I was not charged the additional 1 search credit it would usually have cost.
When trying again a few minutes later, it worked as intended, but that one credit was still not subtracted.
Potential Privacy-, or Ethical Issues
Cheaterbuster provides an impressive service and appears to be very good at what it sets out to do. The only question is whether or not its use is ethical, and that is subjective.
Your partner’s privacy
By snooping around in your partner’s phone, you’re invading their privacy. There’s no denying it. By using Cheaterbuster to check whether they have an active Tinder profile, you could say you’re invading their privacy as well, but I would argue to a much lesser extent.
When using Cheaterbuster to search for their Tinder profile, you don’t see what else they have on their phone. You can’t read their messages. If they don’t have a profile, you don’t even see that, and if they do, it’s information they made public themselves. So in my opinion, it’s not much of an invasion of privacy. It indicates an insufficiency of trust in the relationship, but that’s a different topic entirely.
The only real problem I have with Cheaterbuster is the indiscriminate gathering and storing of user data, including deleted profiles. Perfectly legal though it may be, it just doesn’t sit right.
When deleting your Tinder profile, you expect them to make your profile invisible, and delete all your data within three months (as per their policy). You don’t expect your profile to still be visible somewhere else on the net.
Granted, it’s only visible to people who pay to search for you specifically, (apart from seeing your thumbnail at random while displaying all users of the same name and age in the same area as someone they were looking for).
And granted, if you were not the person they were looking for, those paying customers will most likely not care about your profile in the least. But still, it’s your data being stored on a server somewhere, without you giving your permission.
Then again, it is data you chose to make completely public at one point, and now it’s almost invisible to the general public.
This could just be a reminder that nothing you put on the internet is ever truly gone and you should be mindful of what you want to keep private.
If you suspect your partner may be using Tinder behind your back, you have two options: Search their phone, or use Cheaterbuster. Of the two, the latter is the superior option by far. Ethical dilemmas aside.
Using Cheaterbuster is less of an invasion of privacy than snooping through their phone, and the chance of yielding a false negative is smaller. Almost zero, depending on how extensive your search is and how crafty you suspect your SO of being. Plus, you can satisfy your curiosity about your score and Tinder competition while you’re at it.