Valentine or swindler? Online dating and fraud on the rise

With the emotional trauma of Netflix’s Tinder Swindler fresh in the minds of its viewers this Valentine’s Day, global cybersecurity and digital privacy company Kaspersky is warning that fraud is a growing trend on dating apps.

During a global survey, of which 1,358 respondents are South African, at least 25% of respondents said they encountered fraud attempts on dating apps since 2020.

These are the stats revealed in the survey:

  • 21% – At least one in five respondents claimed they faced fraud attempts last year;
  • 64% – More than half of respondents said the person they met online asked for money allegedly because of a difficult life situation;
  • 54% – Respondents were allegedly asked to meet in a remote area;
  • 17% – Encountered blackmail attempts, where the person threatened to leak or to publish intimate photos; 
  • 38% – Talked about phishing attempts, in which the person tried to extract their personal data, like asking them to register on a particular website.

“There is a dilemma because we would like to get to know new people and trust them but in the digital world, we often do not know who is on the other side of the screen,” said Kaspersky’s SADC Territory Account Manager James Gumede.

“We highly recommend not to share detailed information, especially bank card details and selfies with documents, not to give the dating app access to your contacts and accounts in social networks,” adds Gumede.

“It is interesting that 5% create fake accounts for the same reason – they consider it a good security measure.”

Watch who you share financial data with. Picture: Citizen iStock

ALSO READ: The Tinder Swindler: Audiences marvel at romantic scammer’s audacity

How to use dating apps safely

  • Be careful if you get digital Valentine’s cards from unknown senders: a card may lead to phishing or a fraudulent website;
  • Before buying gifts online and entering payment data check the title of the website and HTTPS-connection;
  • Talk with your partner about digital borders: it is important that both members of a couple realise that the right to privacy gives assurance of a trusted relationship;
  • Think which passwords you are ready to share with your partner; 
  • Do not publish too much private information (surname, place you work in, photos with your friends, your mobile phone number etc.) and do not connect your social accounts to your profiles in dating apps;
  • Do not visit unknown dating services, especially if you saw them in ads: they may turn out to be fraudulently created to aim at stealing users’ money;
  • Use reliable security solutions on all your devices. It helps to detect fraudulent or suspicious activity and check the security of visited websites.

Compiled by Narissa Subramoney

NOW READ: Anele Mdoda finds out if ‘The Tinder Swindler’ was good in bed

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