Scammers love online dating apps

Just in time to cast a pall on Valentine’s Day, iovation — the Portland-based data authentication and fraud protection startup — reports that online dating transactions through website and mobile apps are one of the biggest areas for scams. And the largest portion of online dating scams, 18 percent, occur in the United States.

Based on its analysis of fraud indicators in billions of online transactions across different industries, iovation found that 1.3 percent of all transactions on online dating sites were fraudulent, slightly down from the 1.5 percent flagged last year.

By comparison, the rate of fraud across all industries, with the exception of gaming and retail, was lower than in online dating, at just 1.1 percent fraudulent activity for the year. While a few tenths of a percentage might not seem like a lot, if you imagine the 3 billion devices that iovation monitors daily making an just one authentication request per day, that amounts to 600 million additional attempts at fraud every day for online dating sites.

Increasingly, Americans are looking for and finding love through online dating services and mobile dating apps. A Pew Research Center survey reported that 15 percent of American adults have used online dating sites and/or mobile dating apps in their lifetimes. But online dating is on the rise. For young Americans, the percentage using online dating sites and/or mobile dating apps was 27percent, up from just 10 percent in 2013.

According to iovation, the fast-growing online dating and mobile apps market has encouraged scammers to target would-be daters to spam with ads for real or imaginary products or to mine as sources of personal information for identity or credit card theft.

To those looking for love who are now reconsidering online dating, take solace in the fact that iovation found that fraud and data breaches actually dip the week of Feb. 14. So if there’s any time to sign up for online dating, it’s on Valentine’s Day. Perhaps even scammers have sweethearts to attend to who, keeping them busy with real life love.

If you want to know how to protect yourself on online dating sites – the basics – click here.  

Adapted from article by Madeline Vuong for geekwire.com | Photo: Pixabay