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.

Drive wipe facility not available on dating site hard drive

Following on from the report of how Grindr was embarrassingly easily hacked last month and the effect that the release of such information, if the hacker chose to download and distribute it, would have on the dating site’s members, our next two articles look at how you may want to delete your information. This sounds like a great idea, but there are two problems with actuating that decision.

The first indirect problem is in itself twofold. If, having been the victim of a bitch campaign or been warned about your dating site activity if you hold a position of responsibility within the community or at work, yet you want to carry on using your site, you can choose to delete your ‘you’ profile and create an alter-ego to continue using the service.

The first issue with this scenario is proving your ‘other self’ as an entity if someone who is attracted to your dating site profile requests you to do so. By creating an imaginary online persona you are inadvertently mirroring the steps taken by scammers worldwide. You may also be in breach of the dating site’s guidelines by doing this, but that’s not the real problem. You are rendering the security facilities being adopted by the world of online dating globally, which allow users to align their dating profiles with an online verification of their identity. The first biggie we reported on was Trusted Faces but there are more coming along as the growth of scammers mirrors the increase in volume of new dating site sign-ups.

Even if you do eventually choose to create a new profile using an adopted name, which, to be successful in any real sense, has to incorporate an image that is at least a little like you, you can still be Geo-tagged. More about that in the following article.

But the second real issue is the deletion of your original account. According to one recent study, facebook retains your photographs for two and a half years on its servers after you have deleted your account. And they’re not alone in doing this. Dating sites the world over are guilty of the exact same practise. Their excuse for doing so has its core in the fact that, should the member’s relationship not work out, they may well want to reactivate the account they cancelled due to their change in circumstances.

As was the case in September last year when a judge ordered the release of Twitter and facebook passwords so that evidence could be presented of infidelity in a divorce court, the dating site’s privacy policies will not protect you by not sharing your information if the law comes knocking. Putting the two together, the longevity dating sites hold your data and their inability to stave off legal access to that information, you are warned here and now that anything you do or say, drunk or sober, on your dating or social networking site may be used against you (or someone else) in a court of law long after you have deleted your account.

The moral is, be careful what you say in the public domain – one day it may just come back and bite you on the ass when you’re least expecting it. Next up – steps to take to avoid this dilemma.

If you just must have a date by the 14th, stay safe!

Carrying on with our series on how to find a date online for Valentine’s Day, we start off today’s first of three articles – all short and sweet, but nonetheless equally valid – with a sort of: okay, if you must bit of advice.

If you are determined to find a date for Valentine’s Day, you’ve got to be sharpish about it. I’d even be as bold as to say, you’re best off ignoring all of the information about finding your perfect partner online for now and just have a quick fly around the free dating sites, as it’s so late in the day. I’d never normally recommend meeting up with someone you’ve only been talking to for so little time as a week and still don’t feel 100% about suggesting you do so now. But Valentine’s Day isn’t going to put itself back a good few weeks just because you’re not quite ready for it this year.

What I’d implore you to do, if you’ve got your heart set on meeting someone so soon after introducing yourself on whichever dating site it is you sign up to is try and do some background checking in the forums with the other members about the person who catches your eye. At this time of year, the forums should be flying with gossip, questions and member threads – if you’ve got a question, just ask it. If someone has an answer, they will get back to you; at this short notice, there are few other options open for cross-referencing any potential partner.

You’ll not have time to build up any sort of online relationship, so at least if you do manage to tie up your first date (firstly, very well done, you!) everything will be fresh when you meet them and you’ll be going in with a very open mind. For what you’re looking to achieve in the short term, this as good a way as any to really get into the swing of Internet dating, with no time to be held back by procrastination.

What I would strongly recommend for your lightning date is a facility here in the UK that runs in conjunction with the Post Office called Trusted Faces. It is the very first step in offering online dating security. It works very simply and I would urge you to get yourself across to their website, get registered and down to the local Post Office to complete your online passport. Look for someone else advertising theirs, swap tickets to double-check that your are both whom you claim to be and you’re good to go.

More coming up on when and how to pay for your membership

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.

Not only cougars who have been fleeced

This week we are expanding the overview that Action Fraud have recently published, detailing scam artists letters and communications to UK dating site members in which they attempt to part them with their hard earned cash.

Combined efforts of Soca and English Universities have determined that as many as 200,000 Brits may have fell foul of the ruse. With reported individual sums ranging from £50 to £240,000 finding their ways to fraudulent accounts overseas, this perhaps gives us an insight to the amount we are talking about. It puts the total Sir Terry and Pudsey raised to shame, in comparison.

We continue our report by breaking down further aspects that can help you identify when someone is angling to reach into your bank account by tugging at your heartstrings.

This may sound a little harsh, but if you’re a middle-aged woman and a twenty-something gorgeous young gent approaches you out of the blue, what are you going to think? Unless you’re on a cougar dating site, with perhaps millions of women more his own age to choose from on your site, are you really the object of his heart’s desire?

We use the original perceived ‘target-group’ of these conmen, middle-aged women, because this was the age-group and gender those conducting the investigation expected to find at the root of the problem – lonely housewives with a bit put away, feeling lonely and making themselves easy targets with flattery and confidence trickery on high-end dating sites.

However, this was proved not to be the case; individuals from all age-groups, both sexes and all sexual preferences fell foul of the blue-eyed soldier or pouting super-model who wanted to flee her evil captors and ‘make home’ in Western Europe.

The reality is that these organised gangs create multiple online identities, downloading photos of ‘pretty’ people from the internet and using that picture as a front – whilst you’re dazzled, looking into their eyes, their hand is metaphorically reaching into your back pocket or purse unlocking your bank account.

This should change in the very near future as ‘online passports’ are integrated into dating websites; for UK dating site members, Trusted Faces will be a welcome relief as your online identity can be verified by a mug-shot taken at a UK Post Office and uploaded for all to see. In the meantime, as this will not happen overnight, beware if someone who you would otherwise consider ‘out of your league’ approaches you out of the blue on your online dating platform, trying to schmooze you away from the site with sweet-talk.

Keep it real. Stick to the site, ask them to prove their identity and never, ever give them information that could jeopardise your financial security.

Scam dating site profiles broken down

Here at dating.org.uk, not only are we determined to bring you the best UK dating sites currently on trend, but we want you to remain safe when you leave our site, after utilising our search facility. Not only do we want to provide you with the best dating site comparison service possible, but we want you to come back and use us again and recommend us to your friends – there is no mystery, there.

To that end, we have constantly jumped on any news article, since we’ve been live, that will enhance your dating site experience and, as well as providing the odd how-to and tip advice, arm you with the knowledge and safeguards to save you from the woes of being duped online.

Dating site numbers continue to rise and, with more and more dating site members opting for paid rather than free dating site memberships due to the extra security it is perceived they offer, there are more and more crooks looking to tap into this stream of wealth flooding through cyberspace via the gateway opened up by online matchmaking and adult dating sites.

security apps are just a battle won, not the war

With the advent of applications such as the tru.ly app in the US that verifies an online dating site member against government records and the UK’s equivalent, Trusted Faces, it is hoped that these opportunities will be reduced considerably. However, there will always be a convincing sob story that tugs at a lonely single’s heart strings and acts like the pin number to the ATM of their account. It is these instances that, no matter what level of security is applied, are so convincing that they need to be eradicated before more dating site users fall for their snake-like charm.

We are glad to report that action fraud has produced a replica document of a typical tool used by these skilled online schmoozers in their deceptions. In the style of a letter, although this is just one tactic, it represents exactly the type of language used to build trust and rapport with gullible dating site members, with the single, profound goal of alleviating them of their cash.

These conmen are skilled professionals; however, there is growing police activity to match, as the realisation of exactly how much people are being swindled out of is revealed. The figures mentioned are staggering, truly beyond belief; that trusting souls so desperate for attention through loneliness have been so easily separated with their life savings is heartbreaking. It is this craving that these gangsters – oh, yes, it is organised crime – prey upon; the whys and hows, we will highlight over the coming week.

Stay tuned to this thread to protect yourself further and help win the war against online crime.

Online passport allows us to verify trusted faces

For weeks we have been vociferous about mobile applications, such as the tru.ly app, which verifies members’ online dating profiles against government records; but, up until now, such confirmation has only been available in certain states in the US. It has been hoped that dating sites follow example of their less static counterparts by incorporating this technique in their own web pages.

Now, a similar option has availed itself to UK dating sites, with the launch of Trusted Faces, which is heading up its marketing campaign with the slogan ‘Online people you can trust’. I can almost hear the millions of UK dating site members cheering a hearty ‘About time!’, right now.

how the online passport works

The new ‘online passport’ will not only benefit dating and matchmaking sites the length and breadth of the UK; it’s further attraction reaches out to online business entrepreneurs, backing up financial and account activity without the hassle of verifying identity through third parties that customers are who they say they are.

Using secure centric online technology verified with a face-to-face UK Post Office® check, each registered user gets their unique online certificate number. This can then be verified on the Trusted Faces site – the photo on the dating site profile should match the online passport photo which you check via a ‘ticket’ which your online dating site member will issue you with.

As well as the photographs matching, the passport also includes contact information, such as e-mail address, e-bay registered user information and profiles such as facebook and twitter.

Once an individual has created their profile, they have the option to add it to Trusted Faces Who’s Who Directory where you can verify those e-mail addresses, e-bay stores, etc., to confirm that they are owned by the passport-holder, as they claim.

how will this help online dating members?

Alongside the many business uses for online passport verification, this can only push dating sites credibility even higher. The last barricade to many potential singles, who have previously foregone the opportunity to search for love online due to security issues can potentially now be eliminated, opening the floodgates for many more users to join the growing phenomenon that is online dating.

The benefits for dating site users are instant. If a member wishes to search for partners only by those who are verified, a safe area can be created to facilitate that requirement. If ever dating sites needed to create membership to attract more users, this has to be the way forward; even those using assumed names can now verify themselves.