The Scoop: Dating app developers understand that scams are one of the biggest threats to users — and their businesses. Fake profiles can ruin the reputation of dating sites and force entrepreneurs to scramble for solutions. Scamalytics is a service that aims to prevent those problems. The team monitors dating sites and searches for blacklisted IP addresses to find and block scammers when they form a fraudulent account. The process helps ensure user safety, and dating app developers can feel confident their platforms are protected.
Online dating scams have become increasingly common as more people turn to the web to find love.
The Federal Trade Commission reported that singles lost more than $200 million in 2019 from scams associated with dating apps. That amount is up nearly 40% from the previous year, with more than 25,000 people filing reports in 2019 alone.
The numbers are so high that romance scams now account for more losses than any other scams reported to the FTC.
That’s why dating app developers often partner with Scamalytics to keep their users safe. The service is a world-class anti-fraud system that allows businesses to find and block scammers automatically before they can connect with real people.
Many singles have experienced a too-good-to-be-true dating profile, only to receive a desperate request for money after chatting for a while. Daters are especially vulnerable when searching for love online, and good-hearted people often give others the benefit of the doubt — even when it’s not always wise to do so.
“Any platform that allows two strangers to form a relationship includes an element of risk by its nature,” said the Scamalytics team. “Our advice to users is to follow the guidelines laid down by the services themselves, as they know best how to keep their users safe.”
Developers can help users by working with Scamalytics. The program allows entrepreneurs to remove those scammers in real time, contributing to a solid reputation for a dating platform.
Machine Learning Helps Find and Block Scammers
Scamalytics started in 2012, just as online dating was beginning to gain popularity throughout the world. Its founders, Nick Tsinonis and Dan Winchester, met at a dating conference and started talking about scams that concerned them.
Nick had been focusing on machine learning technology to make recommendations for potential matches on dating sites. Dan was running a dating service and knew all too well the problems that could arise.
“Together, they saw the potential for applying machine learning to the problem of fraud, specifically in the dating industry,” said the Scamalytics team. “Our mission now is to help services detect and block fraudulent users across dating and many other sectors.”
Along with its work in the dating industry, Scamalytics also partners with companies in many other sectors. For example, organizations in finance, gaming, and ecommerce all face similar threats that Scamalytics technology can help solve.
According to the company, around 20% of new users of dating sites are fraudulent, and the financial and emotional losses they can cause could ruin a business. In the past, companies have had to employ more staff and implement in-depth strategies to battle against the flood of scammers. Scamalytics can help those sites bypass the extra effort and expense.
Scamalytics understands that fraudsters don’t typically create fake dating profiles individually. Instead, scammers usually make hundreds of profiles at a time — often from one computer. Understanding that can make it surprisingly easy for business owners to address the problem.
Detecting Fraudulent IP Addresses in Real Time
Each computer has a specific IP address which serves as a sort of fingerprint for everything it touches. Scamalytics built the largest database of blacklisted IP addresses that scammers use, which streamlines its efforts to keep all fake profiles from those addresses off dating sites.
Its database also has in-depth information about the device, network, and even the profile’s content. According to the Scamalytics team, those scammers aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel each time they post a new profile.
“Our service provides ongoing monitoring of user data and behavior to identify fraudulent users as they develop their profiles and use the service,” they said. “Most fraudulent users are identified within a few seconds.”
However, the technology can sometimes take a little longer to root out the scammers. Sometimes, they create dormant accounts to evade standard fraud checks. That’s why it’s important to work with a company that monitors so many different industries and online businesses because it makes it harder for fraudsters to hide.
Whenever someone creates a new dating profile, Scamalytics scores the IP address in real time. Then, it automatically searches its database for potential problems on a wide range of networks, using its blacklists and machine learning algorithms. For example, if one fraudulent profile has a specific phrase, others will likely use that phrase.
When the IP address scores high, the team can identify that it has a history of fraud or has a strong connection to scam activity. That’s all it takes to report the profile to the company.
Scamalytics: Innovations Make Online Dating Safer
Singles can do their part to stay safe while looking for love online — including using a platform protected with Scamalytics. It’s important to never share personal information until the other person has earned a level of trust over a long period.
Dating involves a higher level of openness, but people should be aware of the potential dangers of interacting with strangers. It’s a good idea to communicate on the platform and meet in a public place. Scammers are often seasoned manipulators, so if something seems off, it probably is.
The Scamalytics team also works with law enforcement agencies to help keep people protected.
“We formed a partnership with the UK Police’s Action Fraud to enable scammer data from victim reports to be used to prevent them from continuing their activities,” the Scamalytics team said. “We hope to continue working closely with law enforcement moving forward.”
Scamalytics doesn’t protect every platform, but the company is expanding its reach every day. In the meantime, it is adding to its database to cover the latest threats in the dating industry and beyond.
The Scamalytics database even has an extensive collection of images, many of which are reused by scammers. Image recognition software can immediately identify a blacklisted photo and eliminate the profile from a platform before it affects innocent singles.
“We’re also applying what we’ve learned in dating to a wide range of other industries,” said the Scamalytics team.