Dating app of the moment, Tinder, is increasingly becoming the target of fake profiles and love bots – which try to make users of the app download malware, visit websites or download mobile games.
And recently a 21-year-old American student called Kristin Shotwell found that her identity had been stolen by someone posing as Kim on Tinder.
Shotwell was informed by a friend that someone was using her Facebook pictures on a fake Tinder profile from Athens.
Writing on her blog, the North Carolina student said at first she did not consider it serious, but after seeing the screenshots her friends sent her, became concerned regarding her internet security and privacy.
Shotwell is asking for help to find Kim, after her story was picked up by local news and NBC News, and plans to write a school paper on it.
She said: “Because of this incident, I plan on writing my final paper for my JOMC240 class, in which we discuss the future of mass communication and media, about my stolen virtual identity, online privacy and security.
“My professor told me to try to find this “Kim” to make for a better story before contacting Tinder to take down the profile, because it would be far more entertaining to confront this person about stealing all of my pictures than to simply delete the account”.
Despite having a Facebook-verification feature, Tinder is increasingly becoming the target of hackers, because of its huge popularity.
For example, Tinder was attacked by bots offering promo codes for car-rental app Uber, cam and porn bots, and more recently by bots promoting the mobile game Castle Clash, which received lots of press coverage.
And although fake profiles and scammers are nothing new, such reports and press interest about their increasing regularity on the app will hurt Tinder’s reputation, especially if it increases, and begins to seriously compromise user experience.
The Crime Complaint Centre said that online dating scams reported in 2012 cost Americans more than $55m.