The ‘new normal’ and online dating

Blog | 20 January 2021

The ‘new normal’ and online dating
By Andra-Bianca Muntean

As we approach Valentine’s Day 2021, one thing we can say with certainty is that it will be unlike any other. Almost all aspects of our lives have been transformed over the past year, with dating for singletons being no exception.  

Adapting to the ‘new normal’ has brought new ways of working, learning, shopping and entertainment.  For the retail sector, successive lockdowns have had a profound, and for some, terminal impact. The growth of online retail and the escalating shift to digital has also creating increased opportunities for fraudsters and cyber attackers, with identity theft being the highest growing form of online fraud.  

Challenges in the online dating sector
Perhaps one of the most personal areas of vulnerability is in the dating sector. The pandemic has certainly not lessened people’s desire to experience human interaction and seek romance – on the contrary, the number of subscribers for platforms such as Match, Tinder or Badoo have increased significantly under lockdown.  

Unfortunately, this growth has also provided a bigger target for scammers and hackers. Since the first lockdown in March 2020, reported fraud in the online dating field rose by 40%. A particularly cruel form of cybercrime is ‘romance fraud’ – through which a fake profile is created to lure users into handing over money and stealing identities. Charity Action Fraud suggests this type of scam has increased by 15% over the past year, with over £63 million being stolen in 2020.  

Raising the trust bar
For example, one platform has introduced a ‘verification’ feature that allows users to gain a ‘blue tick verification’ on their profile once they have been through the sign-up process. In every case the process is very simple, the user has to take live selfies in a pose requested by the app. For some apps, this is where the process ends. If the user simply poses in a specific requested manner, they become verified. Therefore, this simply confirms that the user is a real person. It doesn’t validate they-are-who-they-say-they-are.

As an attempt to reduce catfishing – impersonating someone online – some mobile dating apps use ‘facial geometry’ to check live selfies against the pictures on the user’s profile. Although this can confirm a match between the user and the photos, it still does not verify the identity of the user.  

Digital identity assurance
So how can these challenges be tackled? A validated and assured digital identity solution can bring significant benefits to all of our online interactions. OneID, the bank-backed solution in the UK from Digital Identity Net, enables people to use their validated bank identities to simplify and secure their online lives, proving who they are without the need for form filling or complex and clumsy facial scans or document checking.  

Using a comprehensive and verified digital identity solution not only raises the bar with regard to trust and safety for dating service users, it also significantly reduces the friction and frustration experienced using other less-effective attempts at validating identities through live selfies etc.  

OneID Benefits
What would be the benefits of integrating an identity solution like OneID with your dating app? It will provide your customers with a simple and seamless way to really prove who they are using bank-grade identity data – reducing vulnerabilities to fraud and identity theft and giving singletons added assurance in your platform. In addition, it provides a friction-free way for new customers to join your site, reducing abandonment rates and hopefully improving matchmaking rates!

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