Tinder and other Match dating apps offer in-app tips to avoid romance scams • TechCrunch
Match Group, the parent company of dating apps including Tinder, Hinge, Match, Plenty of Fish, Meetic and OurTime, today announced the launch of a new campaign that introduces in-app messages and email notifications, to give tips to users on how not to get scammed online.
French online dating apps Tinder and Meetic use in-app messages to alert users with tips and common behaviors to watch out for. Suggestions include making sure to check the profile picture of potential matches, video chatting with them before meeting in person, and learning how to spot the red flags of scammers.
Meanwhile, Match, Hinge, Plenty of Fish and OurTime send users emails and text notifications with the same scam tips. Starting today, the global awareness campaign will be launched in more than 15 countries, including the US, Canada, the UK, India, Australia, Japan, Germany, France, Spain and Italy. It will last throughout January, but Match Group told TechCrunch that it will continue to push messages to users on a regular basis.
“Fraudsters often play the long game,” Buddy Loomis, Match Group’s senior director of law enforcement operations and investigations, told TechCrunch. “They really want to gain the victim’s confidence and spend a lot of time with them talking back and forth… this is how scammers build a relationship with that person and feel safe. [Then] they ask for money for the child’s medical bill, visa or plane ticket.”
Another red flag is when a scammer wants to chat through third-party platforms, which usually means they want to chat on an app that isn’t as moderated. Match Group recently introduced a feature in its apps that sends users pop-up messages with safety tips when it detects certain words in a conversation.
More and more online daters are falling victim to romance scams, and the number is only growing. In 2021, the Federal Trade Commission reported that consumers lost a staggering $547 million. The Global Anti-Fraud Organization provided data showing that the average reported loss in the United States was $186,169 in 2022, up from $120,754 in 2021, Match Group said in a statement today.
Although Match Group dating apps use many tools to catch fraudulent and suspicious profiles, there are still people who use these apps to scam and steal users.
Loomis points out that romance scams and other related incidents are vastly underreported, so hopefully the new message will warn about that side of the issue as well. “One of the big messages here is to raise awareness of this type of fraud and remove the stigma of reporting it. We want members to feel safe and have more people come in, whether it’s proactive, if they haven’t been victimized and lost their monetary value, or after,” he added.
Match Group encourages users to report incidents that occur on the platform they use and to contact local law enforcement.
The company’s new dating safety campaign comes nearly a year after Netflix released “The Tinder Swindler,” a true-crime documentary about Israeli con artist Simon Leviev, who tricks women into sending him money on the dating app. Since the documentary premiered in February 2022, Tinder has introduced various security features, such as a Garbo-driven background check and a feature to prevent bad actors from hiding from victims using the “unmatchable” feature.