Scammers Use Fake Versions of Dating Apps to Target African Singles

Over 2,000 African daters fell victim to cyber-attacks on sites disguised as legitimate dating apps in 2019, research by cyber-security company Kaspersky has found.

The study revealed that 2,548 daters were fooled into using bogus sites disguised as well-known platforms, such as Tinder, Bumble or Zoosk. 

Vladimir Kuskov, head of advanced threat research and software classification at Kaspersky, said: “Online dating has made our lives easier and yet uncovered new risks on the path to love.”

Countries most frequently targeted were South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria, making up 58%, 10% and 4% of all attacks respectively.

These fake apps often contained a range of malware, such as Trojan Horses, that can retrieve personal data, send expensive SMS messages or show unwanted ads.

One app which was disguised as Tinder collected the user’s detail in order to steal their money, once it was granted accessibility rights.

Another named ‘Settings’ consistently showed an error message which later disappeared. Kaspersky believed there was a high chance that unwanted ads would pop up shortly.

Cybercriminals most often used Tinder as a front. The app’s name appeared in nearly a third of all cases.

Kuskov added: “We advise users to stay attentive and use legal versions of applications that are available in official application stores.” 

Kaspersky also advises daters to: 

  • Check application permissions to see what the apps are allowed to do  
  • Find out more information about the dating website they wish to visit
  • Use a reliable security solution
  • Avoid sharing too much personal information with strangers
  • Make sure that the person you are meeting is real

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