Online dating fraud refers to any fraudulent activity–creating fake profiles, taking over genuine accounts, and impersonating users–that fraudsters do to scam unsuspecting users into extorting money, phishing out personal details, and disseminating spam. Online dating apps and websites are obliged to preserve user experience while protecting their users from all forms of automated and human-driven online dating fraud

Technology has revolutionized every aspect of social life today. This includes the way people meet and engage in romantic relationships. But the soaring popularity of dating apps has also brought with it a rise in online dating fraud. 

A perfect recipe for online dating fraud

According to one estimate, about 32% of internet users are using online dating platforms. The growing popularity of these websites and apps lies in their ability to enable users to balance their search for a partner with their busy routines. Most merely require users to only upload a photo and short bio to get started with a seamless onboarding experience.

As a result, in its two decades of its existence, online dating has grown into a global, multi-billion dollar industry. In 2019, with around 30.4 million users, the online dating industry saw revenues worth $ 912 million in the US alone, says Statista

A global user base, ease of use, and multi-billion dollars in revenue make a perfect recipe for online dating fraud. 

Online dating fraud affects users, revenues, and reputation

Armed with stolen user credentials and compromised digital identities, fraudsters overwhelm the dating platforms with numerous fake accounts, account takeover attacks, phishing schemes, and extortion.

One of the world’s leading platforms was facing all of the above-mentioned challenges. It faced difficulty detecting human-driven online dating fraud up front, which allowed fraudsters to scam good users. The platform is popular across demographics for the convenience and user experience it offers. But, disruption to user experience and exposing users to a myriad of frauds were posing a risk to business reputation and revenues.

The platform was able to detect fraud downstream. It, however, could not shut the entry gates before fraudsters could sneak in through fraudulent registrations. Once fraudsters gained access, they could move around laterally and exploit every opportunity to scam true users. They also used account takeover to gain control of dormant user accounts and exploited them to evade detection. All of these activities led to discontent among true users.

Detect and stop fraud

The platform needed to preserve its reputation and the user experience it was known for. It needed a defense mechanism that would enable it to monitor and stop fraudulent registrations, which in turn, would help check subsequent online dating fraud.

Arkose Labs helped the platform identify bad actors to deny them entry into its online dating ecosystem. The Arkose Labs solution monitored account registrations closely. It used deep digital intelligence and advanced behavioral analytics to identify telltales of online dating fraud. Using these insights, the solution presented 3D challenges to all users at the account registration stage. While good users quickly cleared them and proved their authenticity, bots and machines failed instantly. This is because these context-based, 3D challenges are resilient to automatic solvers.

Stop human-driven online dating fraud

It is difficult to detect human-driven online dating fraud early in its tracks. Therefore, to prevent malicious users from registering, the Arkose Labs solution increased the friction levels in the form of incrementally complex 3D challenges. These adaptive step-up challenges ensured malicious users could not solve them en masse. In an effort to clear the challenges at scale, fraudsters had to spend more time and resources. This depleted the returns and disincentivized them from creating fake accounts.

Further, Arkose Labs shared the data signals with the online dating platform. This enabled the platform to accurately identify returning fraudsters and ban them. This also allowed for better protection of the platform and the users from ensuing fraud attempts.

The secondary screening and multi-tiered approach enabled the dating platform to decisively ward off automated and targeted fraud without disrupting user experience.

To learn how Arkose Labs protects leading dating platforms from online dating fraud, click here.