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.