Safe online dating: data verification and video chats


Today we’ll talk about a vital topic for Internet users today — Internet security. People tend to divide into two camps on the issue of security. The former do not particularly care about security and believe that the risks on the Internet are overstated. The latter, on the contrary, pay attention to their every action on the Web, use fake names and photos, publish absolutely no data about themselves, etc. There are also those who are somewhere in between, but they’re not who we’re focusing on today.

Sites and apps for dating have been focusing on security for years. And many have already implemented mandatory verification of user data in order to prevent fakes, bots, scammers, and similar from appearing on the sites. Are such actions justified? Undoubtedly!

According to data published annually by the FBI, in the United States alone in 2019 Internet users incurred total financial losses of more than $201 million. In 2020, this amount grew even larger and approached $300 million. The reasons are quite obvious — against the backdrop of a pandemic and quarantine, scammers went online, where they swindled money from users under a variety of pretexts. 

Not surprisingly, in 2021 dating sites started to pay more attention to security issues. One of the big steps in this direction was the verification of user data.

Data validation: where has it already been implemented and how effective is it?

Many dating platforms have been working on the introduction of mandatory account verification for several years now. Since the early 2000s, under the Match Group umbrella have been making attempts to check data more thoroughly, but so far they’ve not made much progress in this direction. Remember that the Match Group includes Plenty of Fish, Tinder, Meetic, Pairs, OkCupid and more than ten other platforms.

However, the situation is still changing for the better. In September 2021, representatives of Tinder reported that right now the company is actively working on developing an algorithm for identifying users and verifying their data. There is no definite information yet, since work on this is still at an early stage.

A reminder: Tinder has implemented age verification (users must be over 18). When registering, you must prove that you are an adult by providing your driver’s license, passport, or health insurance card (Japan only). But practice shows that this check is easy to bypass and its effectiveness is questionable.

Third party services for checking user profiles

While dating services are in no hurry to implement effective solutions to improve the security of their users, third-party developers have taken over. Here are just some of their suggested solutions:

  1. BloomID. This is centralized storage of personal data, using which you can be verified on sites and in dating applications among other things. Bloom analyzes your contact information and collects information about you from various databases, social networks and other online platforms. In other words, it forms a comprehensive Internet profile for each user. The only question is whether you are ready to offer a third-party service access to all your information.
  2. KarmaCheck. Another third-party solution for analyzing user data and improving the security of Internet communication. At the moment, the service is already integrated into the dating application CarpeDM and has proven itself well. KarmaCheck analyzes the user’s personality, occupation, income, criminal history, etc.

Of course, these services are not perfect, and there are questions about them. So if you’re not sure you’re ready to use them or that you fully understand how they work, it’s better not to rush.

Video chat implementation: the ability to identify the offender yourself

If data validation still raises some questions, then with the implementation of the function of video chats within dating applications, everything becomes much clearer. Seeing a person in front of you, it is much easier for you to understand who they are, what their goals are, whether bad intentions are hidden behind their words, and so on.

Not surprisingly, during 2021 online video chat appeared in almost every popular dating app. And where the function existed before, it has been noticeably improved. Video chats are already available on Tinder, Badoo, Bumble and many other online dating sites, but still, they’re far from the main features.

Online video chat: secure face to face communication

The first video chat sites began to appear back in 2009, and at that time they were already in great competition with classic dating sites and applications. Users highly appreciated the ability to communicate with random people via video link, see them on screen in front of them and meet them, almost like in real life. It turned out to be not only more convenient and productive, but also safer — there are many, many fewer scammers and fakes here, and moderation on many popular video chat sites is even better than on usual dating platforms.

Among the most popular online video chats are Chatrandom, OmeTV, Camsurf, CooMeet, and Emeraldchat. They use different principles of moderation, but they are all effective in their own way:

  1. Chatrandom, OmeTV, and Camsurf have AI moderators and algorithms to help identify bots and potential intruders quickly.
  2. CooMeet: live video chat with girls has one of the best moderation services among video chats, and girls, upon registration, must go through an identity verification stage.
  3. In Emeraldchat, each user has a karma rating that increases or decreases depending on their actions. High-rated users simply cannot communicate with low-rated ones.

However the main advantage of online video chats is that you can immediately see what kind of person is in front of you. Are they cute to you? Do you like their way of speech and gesture? Is the manner of speech or behavior suspicious?

You have to admit that seeing a person in front of you, it’s much easier to understand what they really are. Anyone can be hiding behind messages in a messenger or dating app. Today we’re not focusing on incidents that resulted from too much gullibility and recklessness from dating site users, but let’s just say you should never meet with a person who you only know by writing.

The bottom line: your safety is still in your own hands

Unfortunately, there’s no perfect algorithm to completely eliminate scammers, fakes or bots on dating sites and in video chats. Data validation, the introduction of an online video chat function, and the use of artificial intelligence to analyze user behavior are all good and useful. But these measures do not provide 100% protection from the actions of those with bad intentions.

So this is our advice: never lose your vigilance when interacting with strangers and unfamiliar people on the Internet. Your safety is first and foremost in your hands, but you should also choose those online services where moderation is at a higher level and there’s data verification. This does not eliminate all risks, but it minimizes them as much as possible. Happy and safe online dating!