Dating app security: Prevent romance scams and safely connect verified users

As more and more people look to the internet to find someone special, fraudsters are evolving their tactics to take advantage. With almost half of couples in the US now meeting on dating sites, there are a massive number of potential victims. With technology being available to prevent the majority of romance fraud, it becomes the responsibility of dating sites to protect their users.

In the lead up to Valentines Day we look at some common types of romance fraud and what can be done to prevent them.

Love as a business

57.4 million

registered dating site users in the US


of new couples in the US met on dating sites in 2023

$3.12 billion

annual global revenue for dating apps in 2023

5 types of romance fraud

Here are just a few ways that criminals use dating sites to commit fraud.


We are all familiar with this MTV favorite. What people may not realize is that there are different levels of catfishing. From genuine people using older or edited photographs of themselves in their profiles, all the way through to completely fake profiles, designed to trap unwary singles into forming an attachment with an imaginary person. Even though they have never met, by being manipulated they may end up providing personal details or sending money to the fraudsters. Dating websites should be able to protect their users from catfishing scams by properly verifying the identity of all site users.

Foreign service scams

Pretending to be a soldier posted overseas or someone working for an aid organization seems to be a very common tactic used by romance scammers. Firstly, these jobs have noble and romantic associations, they also provide a valid excuse for having patchy internet service, no webcam, and they support a number of believable scenarios where the scammer can request money – for example to pay for a webcam, additional safety equipment, or for a flight to see the victim.

The US military even publishes guidance on how to spot fake military accounts. For example, they state that any member of the US miliary will have an email address ending in “.mil.” If the person saying that they are a serving soldier is not using a .mil email address, then that should be a major red flag.

Inheritance scams

This is a variation of the infamous ‘Nigerian Prince’ scam where the fraudster sends out a mass email blast trying to persuade people that they need help moving a large amount of cash or gold out of their home country. In the romance version, the scammer will set up multiple dating site profiles and say that they stand to inherit a large sum of money, but only if they are married. In exchange for splitting the money they ask the victim to pay for a flight so that they can meet up to get married. Of course, once the money has been paid, they are never heard from again.


On some sites things can move very quickly and users might find themselves persuaded to exchange intimate photos or videos with the people they match with. If it is a fake account set up by a criminal, then these can be used to blackmail the victim into sending cash so that the photos are not made public.

Dating sites that require user verification are far less likely to attract criminals as they can easily be reported and traced if they try this scam.

Fake dating websites

There are a lot of dating websites available for people that are looking for that special someone, or just to meet new people. Some are well known, but others may be new and seemingly full of attractive singles looking to mingle. Beware, as these could be sites that have been set up by scammers with the sole purpose of gathering personal and financial information. This can be used to defraud victims or sold on to other scammers.

In this situation, the responsibility falls on the person to research the website before they join or provide any personal details. If you are new to the online dating scene it is recommended to stick to well-known sites that have a good reputation and have the technology in place to properly verify their users.

True romance is never a scam

According to Atlas VPN, throughout 2021, United States residents lost more than $343 million to romance scams. That represents a roughly $40 million increase on the amount reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 2020. The FTC, an independent United States government agency whose principal mission is the enforcement of civil U.S. antitrust law and the promotion of consumer protection, reported that romance scams were among the most effective for fraudsters, accounting for 24% of all fraud damages recorded by the FTC in 2021.

Now, we realize that this all sounds scary, especially at a time when people could do with a little bit of extra love. So, with Valentine’s quickly approaching, how does your business ensure a safe and secure platform that brings people together?

How dating apps can stop romance fraud

App identity verification

The best way to ensure peace of mind for people trying to create meaningful connections through your app or service is to stop fraudsters from gaining access to it. It really is that simple.

You might already require users to submit some sort of verification or identity confirmation upon registration or login. This could include a check on details like their real first and last names, age, security questions, profile picture, and their username and password. This is a good start, but would not be enough to stop the Tinder Swindler.

Passwords can be stolen, as well as accounts and entire identities. This becomes increasingly complicated with a rising number of digital newcomers trying online dating for the first time. At the same time, you want to cater to these people and make their first online dating experience a frictionless one.

Your dating app, and users, deserve a solution that not only eliminates the complexity of getting out there with simple app registration and user experience, but also offers elevated security.

Mobile Identity – quicker, more secure access to meaningful connections

With Mobile Identity and authentication you can have your cake and eat it too. Mobile Identity uses mobile operators’ subscriber data to verify and authenticate mobile users through their mobile numbers without the need for them to take any additional steps.

As part of Mobile Identity, silent mobile verification allows your dating app to distinguish real from potentially fraudulent users based on their mobile number, which translates into secure verification that eliminates friction on service sign-up and login. Additionally, the service identifies and prevents SIM swap fraud before it can ever take place.

This represents a revolution in user account security and provides near perfect account takeover protection, ensuring conversations happening on your dating app are conducted safely and securely.

What’s even better, the entire user authentication process takes less than 5 seconds.

You, like us, are in the business of creating connections. When you’re out looking for love, the last thing on your mind should be user authentication. It’s about interactions with other people, through your already great service. It’s time to let your users enjoy it to the fullest.

This Valentine’s Day, implement quicker, more secure access to meaningful connections with mobile identity.

Mobile Authentication

The Future of Mobile Security and User Engagement

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Jan 16th, 2024
6 min read