Finding romance has taken a virtual turn with the advent of online dating platforms. Today’s singles want to meet new people in an easier and faster way, hoping for encounters that can lead to long-term, satisfying relationships.
One of the significant contributors to online dating’s growth is the proliferation of mobile devices. Smartphones, tablets, and laptops, among other internet-enabled devices, allow people to meet potential matches without needing to see them in person.
According to Statista, the number of global online dating users has risen from 205 million in 2017 to 370 million in 2021. Their reports project these figures to grow to 442 million users in the next three years.
However, these online dating sites also attract fraudsters who want to take advantage of people with genuine intentions of seeking companionship. While some users stretch the truth about themselves to make them more desirable on dating platforms, criminals will use fraudulent tactics to exploit their online dates or even endanger them.
A recent Pew Research study reveals that about 71% of online daters think that it is common for users to lie on their profile to appear more attractive. Meanwhile, about 50% of users believe that others use fake accounts for scams.
Cybercriminals often target virtual dating platforms because they often have weak security protocols. Even with data privacy regulations and the call by victims for dating companies to improve safety measures, many enterprises still fail to block and remove offenders from their systems.
With the increasing popularity of online dating, it is time for these companies to start deploying strong defenses to keep their services secure right from the beginning.
Security Flaws in Online Dating Platforms
Modern technology should enable dating companies to keep their online platforms a safe place and not an environment where offenders can roam freely. Nonetheless, some dating companies still lack the initiative to safeguard their network.
According to ProPublica’s recent report, there is an absence of uniformity in screening processes among online dating sites. The report also revealed that some platforms do not conduct background checks, identity proofing, or age verification procedures on their users, placing the responsibility of identifying potential offenders on their customers.
Furthermore, Knowledge-Based Authentication (KBA) that rely on passwords and security questions also make systems susceptible to attacks. Criminals can easily obtain this personal information and use the data to wrongfully access existing legitimate accounts.
These lapses in security make it easy for offenders to get away with many online dating-related crimes like catfishing, sexual abuse, and victimizing underaged individuals.
Catfishing or romance scamming is the most common form of fraud that transpires on dating platforms. Criminals use fake identities to find potential matches, gain their trust, and exploit them by asking for money or using them for money laundering and the transfer of illegal goods.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission cites catfishing among the costliest scams, with losses amounting to $201 million in 2019. This figure is six times larger than the recorded losses since 2015.
Other alarming statistics reveal that about 10% of sexual predators use online dating to meet people, while more than 25% deliberately use these platforms to find victims.
Dating companies must block fraudsters at the point of onboarding by proving that they are who they claim to be. They must also deploy a more robust login procedure to ensure that only known users can access their accounts.
Keep Online Dating Platforms Secure with Efficient Identity Verification Solutions
Mobile facial biometric identity verification ensures the secure onboarding of users by authenticating their identity at the point of enrollment. These solutions leverage camera-enabled mobile devices to perform the remote identity proofing process. They also have extra security features like active liveness tests to detect spoofing attempts and ensure the user’s real-time presence.
Supplementing this process is automated identity document authentication. Users can quickly take a photo of their driver’s license with the same mobile device and send it for driver’s license authentication. The automated system will compare the captured document image to known templates in trusted databases to determine if the ID is genuine. Upon proving the ID document’s authenticity, the user’s age could also be verified. Dating companies can also leverage systems that enable them to run new account creators against databases of known offenders.
Once they have created their accounts, users can opt for a passwordless login that harnesses strong authentication factors that bind identity to the device. Robust multi-factor authentication provides an extra barrier against fraudulent attempts. If a person cannot provide the required credentials, they will not be granted access to the account.
Online dating companies should enable their users to find romance on their platforms with added security and trust that protect them from fraudsters. Additionally, these companies should not place the burden of identifying offenders on their users. Dating and social engagement sites must address the vulnerabilities in their systems by deploying identity verification solutions that ensure legitimate users only will be enrolled, and identity authentication solutions that only grant access to the real account owners.
With modern identity proofing and identity document authentication solutions, online dating sites can provide better defenses against cybersecurity threats and prevent criminals from exploiting their services. There are many Identity as a Services (IDaaS) providers that dating companies can work with. They need to find the right one that will help them meet their security needs.
Proof™ by authID delivers biometric certainty to remote identity verification for the onboarding of users. It harnesses mobile technology, anti-spoofing liveness confirmation, and automated identity document authentication. It also provides age verification for age-restricted digital platforms. AuthentifID™ extends the value of a proofed identity to enable passwordless login and reduce fraudulent account takeover to reduce risk throughout the enterprise.
Schedule a Demo with authID
authID.ai is a provider of an Identity as a Service (IDaaS) platform that delivers a suite of secure, mobile, biometric identity solutions, available to any vertical, anywhere. authID‘s products can help weed out bad actors on online dating sites and apps, ensuring that only legitimate users will be enrolled and logged in. Contact authID today at 1 (516) 778-5639 or click here to schedule a demo.