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Protect Dating App Users from Criminals and Scammers

In an era defined by virtual connections, relationships materialize with a simple swipe, unfolding amidst the pixels of our screens. The landscape of online dating has witnessed an unprecedented surge, especially in the Middle East. However, with this growth comes an unsettling rise in scams, fraud, and the darker side of virtual relationships.

Let’s dive into the alarming rise in online dating offenses, the perils faced by users, and a beacon of hope in the form of cutting-edge technology – biometric face authentication. Join us as we delve into the complexities of online relationships, exploring solutions to fortify the security of dating app users in an ever-evolving digital realm.

The Alarming Rise in Online Dating Offenses

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, dating apps in the Middle East have seen a significant rise in users.1 For instance, Egyptian-based dating app, Hawaya, witnessed an increase in usage of 25% 2  during the early 2020 lockdowns.  However, as online dating grows in popularity, so too do online dating offenses. The coronavirus pandemic has only exacerbated these issues, leading to a dramatic increase in online dating fraud.

The Harsh Realities of Virtual Connections

Millions of people turn to dating apps to meet someone, but instead of finding romance, many are faced with sexualized violence, scams, and identity theft.3  Some have even been victims of physical violence (including murder) when meeting their match offline. Before COVID-19, criminals would fake reasons not to meet their targets in person, which could alert some people that they were deceived. However, after the pandemic criminals were able to get away with reasons not to meet due to the social distancing guidelines, allowing them to defraud their victims.

Scammers Create Fake Profiles, Lie, and Steal

“What scammers do in a romance scam is they make up reasons why they can’t meet their supposed love in person,” says Kati Daffan, an assistant director in the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s division of marketing practices.4

Common Scammer Tactics:

  • Fake Profiles: Scammers create fake profiles on dating sites and apps, or contact targets through social media sites like Instagram and Facebook.
  • Building Trust: They strike up a relationship to build trust.
  • Requests for Money: Scammers concoct stories and ask for money, often requesting payment via wire transfer, reload cards, or gift cards to remain anonymous. These transactions are nearly impossible to reverse.

The pandemic inspired new twists to the stories that scammers typically use to defraud their victims like the pandemic restrictions or testing positive for corona. Romance scams went up about 50% from 2019 and reached a record $304 million in losses reported to the FTC in 2020.5

Face Authentication Paired with Liveness Detection: Ending Identity Theft

More than ever, dating apps need to upscale user security.  Biometric face authentication technology can help thwart bots, catfishing, and various other problems in the online dating world. Increasingly, dating apps are adopting face authentication technology to determine user authenticity. With user consent, biometric and liveness checks are seamlessly implemented, verifying that the user is a live human while matching their face to their profile photo, without sharing data with third parties.6

Providing a leading face authentication technology that is certified to be spoof-proof against photos and videos can solve many security issues on dating apps. Adopting a certified solution with globally acclaimed quality assurance providers such as iBeta, the only accredited biometrics testing lab by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), is necessary. Pairing face authentication with Liveness Detection, the technology’s ability to determine that it is interfacing with a physically present human being and not an inanimate spoof artifact or injected video/data, will end identity theft and user fraud.

Secure the future of Online Dating

A Psychology Today study estimated that by 2040, 70% of people will have met their significant other online.7 Considering this study was conducted before the pandemic, these numbers are likely to increase even more. As more people join online dating platforms globally and regionally, adopting proven biometric authentication technology is crucial to protect users from criminals, financial losses, and heartache.

Learn more about our leading face biometric and liveness detection services hereand contact us to explore how we can help protect your dating app users today.

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