Why are all the good looking ones always fakers?

In the last article we looked at dating sites’ unwillingness to take the law into their own hands and force their members to undergo identity verification, even though they know it’s the right thing. We also read how Kevin Connell from DateProtection.com is urging the public to force the issue and back his war cry. We are asking everyone who uses UK dating sites to take the matter in their own hands and get into the habit of doing so; here’s how, and the secret figures Kevin has revealed about the extent of scamming across dating land.

For the UK dating sites, we have the facility of asking our online partners to obtain an online passport through Trusted Faces / the Post Office®. A simplistic solution, whereby one creates an account with trusted faces, goes in person to the Post Office® to have their real face verified against the permanent photo they post on their Trusted Faces site and confirm the registration.  Job done.

Assuming that your dating site profile photograph looks something like your Trusted Faces photo, you can issue the interested party with a one-off ‘ticket’ to view the PO verified pic to end any argument. There is no worry about that interested party passing the ticket on to others as it expires once it has been used.

You may think that this is all a bit of a palaver and that there are not enough shady characters hiding beyond pictures of (always) beautiful people whose identity they have stolen from somewhere on the internet to bother. The following dating site secrets revealed by Kevin Connell may make you think otherwise:

1. Ten percent, statistically, of sex offenders use dating sites to source their victims; similarly, ten percent of all dating site profiles have been created by such a deviant.
2. Continuing with the ten percent theme, that’s the figure attributed to genuine, honest dating site profiles; nine out of ten people lie from everything from their physical make up to their criminal past.
3. Even as an option, rather than a compulsory measure, dating site owners are unwilling to insert a background check identification procedure, although there are many available. Membership numbers mean so much that they would rather jeopardise all of them than risk putting off a few by putting them through this extra, essential process.  We had one guy, John Syms, comment on our Online passport article stating that if these measures were implemented, he would use dating sites – I’m sure many more would feel the same and surpass the volumes choosing not to sign up because of the extra step!

There are millions of false dating profiles spattered across dating land, created by people who do not want their true identity revealed for a whole host of reasons, some legal, most not.

Laws that are in place are weak and are easily navigable by a determined criminal. Dating sites are fantastic places to meet people, to which hundreds of thousands of satisfied customers will testify. Just make sure when you meet your perfect partner online, they are indeed who they say they are.

Verification required – prove your online dating identity

So, you’ve been chatting to your dating site buddy for a while, they’re making all the right noises, the photos in their profile are handsome – no, better than that: gorgeous – and you make the decision it’s time to move the relationship on. It’s fun chatting, but that’s not what you signed up for.

However, something tugging away at your shirt-sleeve is starting to ring a few bells in the alarm box of your subconscious: do you really know this person? What if they’re an axe-murderer or are not who they claim to be on their profile. Or worse, have ‘borrowed’ images from a friend or off the Internet to post alongside their dating site profile?

How do you go about verifying your dating site companion’s information?

This is sure to be a hot topic at the iDate conference later this month in Miami – not only is the dating site industry extremely aware of the threat posed by scammers on dating platforms the world wide, but now the authorities are stepping in, looking for ways to work with the industry to shore up their sites and protect its membership.

If you’re dating someone from across the seas and you’re based in the US, state regulation is in place for regulated dating sites to monitor and background check all its members from outside of North America.

There are, however, thousands upon thousands of unregulated sites and these are the targets for criminal activity that the industry is attempting to wipe out. This, however, is almost impossible without the cooperation of every single dating site owner, of which there are more springing up every day as they look to make their cut of an industry reportedly worth $2bn a year.

If you’re a member of a UK dating site – an industry on target to be worth £150M per annum in its own rite in the next year or two – although we are targets for many scams from beyond our shores, particularly Nigeria and surrounding countries in the North of Africa, we have not yet seen the volumes of cash defrauded from our members as our cousins across the pond, hence there are no such regulations in place, here.

The chances are, if you are looking to arrange a meeting with another single from your dating site, it’s going to be a UK resident. Getting some users of UK online dating sites to step out of their own door, let alone travel across the globe to meet someone, is a challenge.

Here in the UK, online companies are looking into new ways to protect, not just dating site members, but the online community as a whole. One of the forerunners is Trusted Faces. It’s service requires a physical photograph taken by a third party – in this case the Post Office™ – to register you as a certified online passport holder.

If your date is as serious as you about getting together, as unromantic as it sounds, they will not object to verifying their information in this manner. Read more about the Trusted Faces app, and global Internet security, by clicking the online security category on our dating site – bookmark it for the latest news about being secure on your dating site platform – it is very important to us here, at dating.org.uk. Be happy, but be safe!

A kick up your masquerade balls

There are better ways of instigating an online dating relationship than sending your correspondent a private message which goes along the lines of ‘I like the look of you, but I’m not sure whether you’re a scammer, a stalker or a pervert so I’m gonna get you’re background checked before I give you the time of day.’

However, that is the very real prospect facing dating site members the world over, if you’re not joining an exclusive dating site where members are individually interviewed as part of the service fee. Quite usually, with free dating sites, the revenue comes purely from sponsorship and advertising, so there is very little capital remaining to vet members at all; this is one of the down sides of using this sector of the market over the generally more secure paid dating site niche.

For some years, internet fraud has been recognised by the authorities for what it is: serious, organised crime. As online dating site numbers grow, so do the fraudsters, trained to expert level to engender trust in gullible singles before duping them into sending cash, predominantly to Africa where the majority of these gangsters are based. Some of the volumes are staggering and it is only by working with the dating site community that investigative authorities can hope to put an end to this practise, which has blighted the industry for too long.

verification apps offering more dating site protection than ever

There are state-specific applications available in the US to help combat this issue; providing you are dating an American citizen, some sites are now supporting the program which allows you to double check a potential partner’s credentials against US government records.

In the UK, things are gathering pace even faster. Already we have Trusted Faces – a membership which not only confirms your identity against a snap taken at an official UK post office but also allows you to include other forms of your internet presence and contact details, such as your Twitter user name and e-mail address, respectively. It is very much your online passport.

New, exclusive matchmaking site PDA are very excited about the advent of a ‘Clare’s Law’. This will protect women against an even greater fear – the threat of physical abuse. It is hoped that, once this legislation passes the regulatory standards necessary, it will provide a window into any dating prospect’s criminal past. If there is a history of any sort, it will be there for all to see, so that dating site profiles cannot provide a mask for something altogether more unsavoury, beyond.

It is in everyone’s interest to make the world of online dating a safe and fun place to (hopefully) meet your Mr. or Mrs. Right without fear of any sort; it looks like we’re getting there, albeit one step at a time.