Unfortunately for those looking for companionship on dating sites and social media, love isn’t the only thing in the air this Valentine’s Day—so is fraud. Arkose Labs, providers of online fraud prevention technology combining user risk assessment and sophisticated enforcement challenges, released the findings in a preview of its Q1 2020 Fraud and Abuse Report, which shows that social media, including dating sites, saw a sharp increase in cyber attacks for both account registrations and logins. In fact, every two in five login attempts and every one in five new account registrations were fraudulent, making this one of the highest industry attack rates.

“We are in an era when there is a major assault on people’s online identity information. Social media and dating platforms have therefore become very lucrative targets for fraudsters, due to the amount of data people share online and the high user activity levels,” said Kevin Gosschalk, CEO of Arkose Labs. “The fraud attacks come in a variety of forms, including scraping content and personal details, writing fake reviews, stealing information or disseminating spam and malicious content.”

According to the report, the human versus automated attack mix also rose dramatically, with an 82% increase in human-driven fraud compared to six months prior. Half of the attacks on social media are executed by humans rather than bots. These attacks are fueled by organized sweatshops, which represent large groups of low-paid workers who launch attacks or make fraudulent transactions on behalf of fraudsters. Fraudsters will use a blend of automated and human-driven attacks in order to take over legitimate users’ accounts to manipulate or steal credentials and disseminate spam.

“Too many times, the end user is blamed for lax security practices, but in the case of dating sites and social media it’s the companies that need a more robust way to detect fraud and abuse. This industry has traditionally favored easy sign-up and login processes over more vigorous security measures, however, with mounting attacks they must look to deploying innovative, multi-step authentication technologies that strike the right balance between user experience and security,” added Gosschalk.

About the Arkose Labs Q1 2020 Fraud and Abuse Report
Based on actual user sessions and attack patterns from October through December 2019, the Q1 2020 Arkose Labs Fraud and Abuse Report analyzed more than 1.3 billion transactions spanning account registrations, logins and payments across the financial services, ecommerce, travel, social media, gaming and entertainment sectors. The findings investigate the mechanics of attacks originating from automated bots, humans and sweatshops.