How to prepare your platform for a rise in online daters as we enter the summer of romance
Fielding season looked a little different last year. Rewind to this time in 2020 – global lockdowns had taken over and thousands of singletons replaced in-person interactions with virtual alternatives built for them by their app providers.
From virtual games to in-app video calling, dating platforms were quick off the mark to bridge the gap between online and physical dating. But now, the tables are turning yet again. Physical dates are back on the rise in many countries worldwide and just in time for this year’s fielding season.
No doubt that many daters are excited to step away from the phone screen and get back out there. However, for dating apps, there is still work to be done to protect their users from the risks of finding love online – risks they have seen an increase over the past year.
COVID-19 and Bad Romances
In a recent survey of dating pros around the world, we found that 63% had seen scamming and fraud spike for online daters around the world. This happens when a seemingly genuine love interest deceives another into falling for them, when in reality, they just want their money. This has been backed up by governing bodies. According to the Federal Trade Commission, romance scams took ‘record dollars in 2020’, with reported losses totaling a record $304 million, up around 50% from 2019.
Since the pandemic, romance daters have been navigating a new world and have relied on app providers to safeguard them from new potential risks. As the weather warms and the world slowly returns to normal, daters will be relying more on their favorite apps to play the dating field after what seems like the longest year. Not only must they stay vigilant, but the dating platforms must also make sure their platforms are ready to safeguard real users and call out bad behavior for those meeting new people on and offline. But what exactly do they need to look out for?
Crooks are often receiving a lot of money from different sources. They can often claim that they have recently lost their jobs, are drowning in medical bills, or have even tested positive for the virus, but it can sometimes take an even more serious turn. In fact, many dating insiders reported other types of dangerous activity across their own platforms this past year. Nearly a third had seen a rise in incidents of harm or harassment amongst their users.
Scammers win by fooling genuine users into thinking they are real. As daters get back out there this fielding season, apps need to find ways to protect users from malicious activity and improve their safety both on and offline.
Make Fielding Season, Safety Season
RealMe’s mission is to help dating apps create a safe space for their users to meet and match. Our technology is dedicated to checking for real users to make dating apps more trusted, which means we know a thing or two about the best ways to build a secure online dating platform that users will trust and love. To make your dating app a safer space this fielding season, check out our expert checklist:
● Listen to your users – Like any other service, dating apps have a duty to listen to their customers. In our most recent survey, 65% of dating executives said customers are asking for protection. In many cases, these users are in the best place to call out flaws and identify risks on the app that their providers might not spot from the inside. Encourage and listen to user feedback. By making it easy for them to report suspicious or dangerous activity within the platform, you can take fast action to make your platform safer in fielding season and beyond.
● Extend your background checks – Personal details such as names, dates of birth and email addresses can help you start to build a picture to validate a user. However, with scammers getting smarter by the day, deeper background checks that pull in public data records can give your app the bigger picture. It’s interesting to note that In our most recent survey, we learned that verification checks are the second most desired security enhancement for 2021. At RealMe, our technology supports users by verifying users against a database of millions of public records – from criminal, arrest, and court records to social media. Bringing more data into the mix, we give apps the best level of user validation without the heavy lifting.
● Stay ahead of scammer tactics – Modern-day romance fraud comes in all shapes and sizes and it is up to your team to keep your finger on the pulse of any new trends in scamming behaviors. With many singletons excited to return to their favorite date night spots in time for fielding season, the tendency to overlook issues might be higher. Keep watch of the industry around you and alert users to new types of suspicious activity – even if you haven’t seen it on your platform.
● Find the perfect partner – When it comes to dating, the mantra of ‘Safety in Numbers’ is often put into practice to make daters feel more secure and comfortable when turning online connections into offline encounters. This is not just true for users, but for dating platforms, too. Take advantage and embrace opportunities to work with specialist partners who can offer you the tools, technology, and advice to minimize risk and improve safety at every stage of the dating journey.
To find out how RealMe can help your dating platform verify real users, please visit: www.therealme.com/dating
For more information on survey results completed by Dating Insiders, please click here to access the complete white paper, “Behind the Curtain: What Dating Insiders Really Think About Safety”.