Tinder Toughens Up Verification Amid Wave of Romance Scams

A recent report revealed that romance-fraud victims lose an average of $10,000.

Photo of person using Tinder app on iPhone
Photo by Good Faces Agency via Unsplash

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A Twitter-like blue check mark confirming your date is not a con might be nice. 

Tinder said Tuesday that it’s expanding verification operations as a precaution against AI-generated scams flooding its dating app. As scary as AI-generated dating profiles sound, they can probably come up with better bios than half the real people on Tinder.

I’m Just a Love Machine

Romance fraud, i.e., someone defrauded out of money by a scammer pretending to have a romantic interest in them, is on the rise. Lloyds Bank said in a 2023 report that romance fraud victims lose an average of around £8,000 ($10,000). Just imagine what the average fraudster would reap if they could achieve economies of scale.

Plus, new ChatGPT-esque tools can help scammers disguise themselves linguistically, Becky Holmes, author of Keanu Reeves is Not In Love With You: The Murky World of Online Romance Fraud, told The Daily Upside. “It is commonplace for perpetrators in romance fraud cases to not be native speakers of the language used by the person they are trying to defraud,” Holmes said. “The fraudster making regular and obvious mistakes with their language is often what alerts someone to it being a scam. ChatGPT and the like will unfortunately allow fraudsters to communicate convincingly in any language they choose,” she added.

For dating services like Tinder, this poses a potentially existential problem if their apps become too flooded with scam accounts and real users lose faith in finding love there — especially since user numbers are already shrinking:

  • Tinder already offered photo verification so users could put a little badge on their profile certifying that they are definitely not a catfish. However, now it’s having to revamp that process, as it’s relatively simple to use AI to generate new photos based on the one used as a profile pic.
  • Tinder is giving users the option to upload a form of ID as proof they really exist alongside a short video of themselves. Per Bloomberg, the verification is carried out by a third-party vendor, who bestows real humans with a blue check mark.

Your Love is My Drug: Dating apps don’t only have fake humans to fear. On Valentine’s Day, six dating app users filed a class-action lawsuit in California against Match Group — parent company to both Tinder and other popular dating apps like Hinge — for inducing compulsive behaviors and “fomenting dating app addiction.” Whether dating apps can be considered truly “addictive” is dubious, unless the user in question is Samantha from Sex and the City.