Did you know that in 2021, $547 million was lost to online dating scams in the US alone? And that two out of five dating app users in the UK were asked for money by people they met on platforms like Tinder?
Romance scams of all sorts, including military and crypto, are on the rise around the world. With over 320 million people using dating apps globally, it’s no surprise that there are plenty of targets for romance fraudsters to strike. For that reason, Match Group is introducing a new feature to help users prevent getting scammed.
Match Public Awareness Campaign
This week, Match Group announced that it plans to roll out a public awareness campaign in 15 countries. This is to educate users of its dating apps about safety and how not to fall victim to a romance scam.
This campaign will roll out starting this month. It will be sent through in-app messages to Tinder and Meetic users. Meanwhile, in-app notifications will be sent via Plenty of Fish and Hinge. Such messages and notifications will feature tips on how to avoid scams as well as common fraudster behavior to be on the lookout for.
Buddy Loomis, Match Group’s Senior Director of Law Enforcement Operations and Investigations, shared the company’s commitment to helping their users. He stated they are “investing in building the safety tools available to users by leveraging technology and resources that aim to help users protect themselves from the harms in the world around them and make safer connections.”
How to Avoid Romance Scams
The Match Group tips will include:
- Ensuring that the profile of a match was verified. Since 1 out of 10 dating profiles on average are fake, that would be important to check.
- Video chatting with the match before meeting them. Many scammers will refuse to do so, which is a potential red flag.
- Not switching to other platforms right away. Many scammers will want to take the conversation elsewhere shortly after the match. Since dating apps today have many ways of monitoring users and reporting them for possible scams, fraudsters often ask to move to WhatsApp or Google Hangouts to continue the conversation. Match Group’s recent update sends users safety tips if it detects specific words in a conversation, which external platforms can’t do.
One of the goals of the initiative is to raise awareness of romance scams and mitigate the stigma. Many victims don’t report them because of shame. In fact, over 95% of romance scams go unreported, despite the huge financial losses and emotional distress. Documentaries like “The Tinder Swindler” bring such cases to light and showcase the danger of romance scams. Hopefully, Match Group’s initiative will do the same and help people avoid falling into the traps of fraudsters on dating apps.
Photo credit: The images are owned by Tinder and have been provided for press usage.
Sources: Emma Fletcher (FTC) / FBI Internet Crime Report / PR Newswire / Lauren Forristal (TechCrunch) / Claire Bahn (Online Profile Pros) / Against Scammers / Jessica Bursztynsky (Fast Company) / Lizzie Cernik (The Guardian)