The digital era has ushered in a host of options for online dating. Much like the world of online financial transactions, this has also brought a host of fraudulent activity and risk to all demographics. Who hasn’t learned about catfishing at this point? And hello Tinder Swindler—we all see you now.
Even before Covid-19, online dating was surging. It’s no surprise that this trend, like many others, has accelerated due to the pandemic. In 2022, it was reported that over 323 million people worldwide use dating apps, and as with all things digital, trust is paramount.
Warning signs of romance scams
Romance scams, which occur when a criminal adopts a fake online identity to gain a victim’s affection and trust, are on the rise. In the US in 2022, nearly 73,000 people lost more than $1bn to romance scams. As the FBI warns, anyone can be a target. Criminals who carry out romance scams are experts at what they do and will seem genuine, caring and believable. And the truth is, whether it’s Gen Z or retired baby boomers, anyone can be a victim of online fraud. Fraudsters have become highly sophisticated, very cunning and tech savvy, so it’s important to always be vigilant. When it comes to KYD (Know Your Date), here are some red flags to remember:
Solutions for online dating providers
Daters should choose online dating providers that offer a level of security, much in the way that many shared economy apps have provided this assurance. This can be easily accomplished via online identity verification to weed out fake dating profiles created by bots or with phished and/or spoofed PII. By providing a level of assurance to users, companies will increase confidence and safety by ensuring profiles belong to real people that are who they claim to be. The best solutions will include:
The key is to choose solutions that easily integrate into user onboarding in order to keep the process smooth and with low friction. For example, requiring new users to quickly upload an ID image and snap a selfie takes seconds at onboarding but goes a long way to facilitating a trusted community. By leveraging these types of identity checks, online dating providers can enhance daters’ safety and confidence, while still offering a positive user experience.