A 2020 study conducted by the Pew Research Center reported that 46% of Americans viewed online dating sites as unsafe. The three most common problem areas, according to the research, were:
- People lying and misrepresenting themselves.
- People setting up spam accounts or engaging in other illicit behavior.
- People receiving uninvited sexually explicit messages and images.
New research conducted by RealMe, an online reputation platform dedicated to cultivating safety and trust, and Global Dating Insights, a news source for the online dating industry, suggests that it’s not just users who are worried about the safety and security of online dating — industry executives and insiders are equally concerned.
“We surveyed 1,000 members of the online dating industry, including industry insiders and executives, with the intention of better understanding dating apps’ current safety practices, their priorities for 2021, and the desire for tools and protocols that can help them to step up these safety and security efforts and mitigate risks,” says Charly Lester, RealMe’s Industry Dating Expert. “We found that 63% of dating app insiders believe the risk of scams and fraud in online dating is increasing and that more than half admitted they could be doing more to protect their users from scammers and catfishing.”
Fortunately, companies are starting to take action. In March, the Match Group announced it was adding more robust background checks to Tinder to help users vet their matches. The Meet Group, another leading provider of interactive dating solutions, recently added AI-powered face verification badges to its users’ profiles and implemented iOS device checks to prevent bad actors from returning to its mobile applications. And, White Label Dating’s network of over 4,000 dating sites will be integrating RealMe this year, giving millions of daters access to an extensive database of over 275 million reputation profiles containing criminal records, sex offender status, and more.MORE FOR YOUIn Switcheroo, Blue Origin Auction Winner Drops Off July 20 Flight, Replaced By 18 Year OldThe Perseid Meteor Shower Has Begun And It Only Gets BetterStone-Age Cosmetics Based On Lead-Mineral Oldest Of Its Kind
“Our survey reveals a clear commitment from brands to step up their safety game to build a safer environment for their users,” says Lester. “We asked executives and insiders to rank their top priority areas of 2021 and the number one priority was user safety and security. This ranked ahead of business growth, increased downloads, customer loyalty, and brand awareness.”
The researchers also asked executives and insiders to estimate the scope of the problem. They found that over 65% of respondents estimated that fake or suspicious accounts make up 15% of accounts on their app.
According to data released by the Federal Trade Commission, romance scams took in record dollars in 2020, with reported losses totaling $304 million, up about 50% from 2019. Often, the techniques used by scammers are as simple as asking for money and gift cards through fake profiles.
Part of the reason why people are susceptible to these types of scams has to do with the psychology of how dating apps work. Dating apps have, in a sense, conditioned people to make snap judgments regarding potential matches. A recent study authored by a team of psychologists at the University of Michigan and the University of Maryland found that dating decisions — that is, swiping right for ‘like’ or left for ‘reject’ — are typically made in fractions of a second. Furthermore, the most powerful predictor of dating decisions is physical attractiveness. This creates an environment where users are giving away valuable personal information to people with whom they’ve only had surface-level interactions.
Other research shows that people who exhibit “dark” personality traits such as narcissism and Machiavellianism are more active on dating apps than people with healthy personalities.
And the threat is only growing larger. The researchers report that 80% of dating insiders admitted to seeing an increase in scamming, catfishing, and other bad faith actions over the past year and that two-thirds said their users are asking for more protection, especially female users.
“This survey confirms the risk of scams, harassment, and harm on dating apps is growing and both industry insiders and consumers are aware of the need for change,” says Lester. “RealMe is able to answer this call for improved safety and security and more by allowing dating app users to verify identities and gain visibility into important background information surrounding the people they meet online. Additionally, RealMe’s platform touts several truly progressive enhancements designed to empower more people to take control of their online reputations.”
Read more here.