Dating Sites & Their Risks
We live in an age with an abundance of personal information exposed in the ether of the internet. Most of this information is disclosed voluntarily by the user, often without direct monetary cost. It’s our duty at Allied Wallet to help you realize the potential dangers of providing sensitive info, so you can make the safest choices possible, especially in regards to credit card processing. Here, we’ll be addressing dating sites and their specific risks.
Public, Personal Profile
It’s hard not to have at least one personal profile somewhere online. Social media is more prominent than ever—from old mainstays like Facebook and Twitter to newer apps like Instagram and Snapchat. There are even plenty of platforms for anybody to go and engage with niche interests, such as Pinterest and Reddit.
On the majority of these sites, you’ll have a profile accessible to the general public. This profile may be relatively anonymous or tied to one specific interest, or it could be a place where you simply look to express yourself in a directed fashion. Regardless, you’re providing information to use these services: location, shopping and browsing preferences, demographical information, credit card processing numbers, and more.
Vive La Mobile Revolution
The internet isn’t just making our lives easier; smartphones are making the internet easier. For example, you can have food and alcohol delivered to your door, catch a ride, look up reviews, or go shopping from your phone or tablet. It’s streamlined, too—you’ll only have to go through credit card processing once to utilize these services.
These services provide convenience, which largely outweighs any cost to the consumer. However, there are also discernible negative effects, chiefly our weakened ability to focus. Studies have shown that we have an eight second attention span, partially due to the constant use of apps. The brightside, however, is that it seems we’re now better able to multitask, reserving our mental facilities for more important activities.
This ease of use and shortened attention span mean that many do not give full attention to financial details upon which they may have previously fixated. With the internet, more people have access to your personal and credit card processing information than ever. Although we would never pass our credit card in line at the coffee shop to pay for our order, we effectively do so when purchasing online.
The Dating Industry Spike
With social media and shopping apps becoming prominent, it’s been a logical progression for online dating services to take off. One in 10 consumers spend over one hour daily on dating apps, such as eHarmony, Tinder, Match, OkCupid, and Coffee Meets Bagel,. Not everybody uses these sites profusely, but they’ve been widely adopted—about 40% of singles frequent these sites regularly.
Thanks to online dating’s transitioning into the mainstream, there’s been an accompanying decrease in stigmatization. Whether justified, it had long been perceived to be a fringe activity that attracted socially dysfunctional people who were uncomfortable with approaching others in person.
People are now realizing that’s not necessarily true, which has caused more people to flock to them. It’s a cycle that has led to a 36% increase over two years across all age groups. This has amounted to $2 billion dollars per year in revenue for the dating industry.
Money Helps You Date
Many dating sites and apps are offered for free, which makes many wonder how the ventures make billions of dollars annually. For one, targeted ads or selling stakes to investors are immensely profitable. More often than not, however, a more stable source of income comes from offering special or enhanced services to their premium members.
These additional features help singles better enjoy their services. Tinder, for example, uses a popular swiping feature to establish matches. While swipes are limited for non-paying users, those who do pay receive features such as unlimited swipes and the ability to undo a swipe. Other apps will offer more views, likes, and features (eg. invisible browsing on OKCupid) that tie into their general reason for using the service.
As for platforms that cost money to use, eHarmony is one of the more prominent. Its value depends upon your priorities. While eHarmony’s trademark 29 dimensions of compatibility purportedly lend to a higher chance of a long-term relationship, its paywall screens out a fair share of people. The flipside is that it also screens out less serious daters. Of course, all of these sites and apps require digital credit card processing, often from people who are earnestly looking for love and are less willing to share their credit card info.
Scambots and Catfish
Scammers are fully aware that your credit card processing information is susceptible on these sites and have acted accordingly. It’s a surprisingly lucrative industry. In 2015 alone, scammers made over $150,000 from taking advantage of people. Unlike the movies, this isn’t always in the form of digital hacking or similar ways of using espionage to get your payment info.
The most common type of scam on Tinder and eHarmony is what is referred to as scambots. Scammers set up automated scambots to send messages and likes. They’ll give limited, generic responses through fake social media profiles. Keep an eye out for phony profiles and conversations that don’t feel quite reciprocated. Another tip is to watch out for quickly accelerated positive emotional responses.
Catfishing is another pretty prevalent threat with online dating, found across all dating platforms. A catfisher will use a fake profile—often utilizing stolen photos and fake information—to take advantage of a personal connection. This individual will often be from a different region and will suggest meeting up or connecting via webcam. To achieve these ends, they’ll ask for financial help for transportation or technology costs.
New Crimes Benefit Smart Scammers
While providing this money is voluntary, it’s done under false pretenses. Even worse, it can be used to get your credit card processing information for future use. This gives scammers leeway to spend money until you figure out you’re being scammed. Plus, due to the social stigma of being catfished, many people will not prosecute. This negative stigma and the fact that it’s a newer type of crime ultimately benefit scammers.
No matter the type of scam, there are other tactics for phishing money from you. Scammers might have you visit a link (e.g. their social media page on another site) and enter sensitive information. They can use the info you input on those sites—private information like driver’s license number, Social Security number, bank account and credit card processing numbers—in addition to your public info or intel they’ve collected by talking to you (hometown, family names, etc.) to steal your money and compromise your financial security.
Be Emotionally Vulnerable, Not Financially Vulnerable
Did you know many banks consider dating sites to be high risk? Last year, $80 million was lost to romance sites through scams, a substantial increase from $50 million in 2011. We also saw in the news that 37 million individuals lost sensitive data during the security breach of Ashley Madison, a dating site. These facts makes dating platforms very attractive to scammers, spammers, and catfishers who consider them easy ways to steal money and information.
Overall, 12% of fraud comes from “card not present” transactions. This term refers to credit card processing transactions where the card and corroborating identification are not physically verified. This risk is particularly pertinent to online and app-based transactions as they rarely require checking for a physical card. In addition, these transactions are less likely to be noticed and investigated by people who do a lot of online shopping and app purchases.
Protect Your Heart and Your Wallet
The aforementioned issues are just a few reasons why security is essential in avoiding the risks of dating sites. Besides keeping personal information close, you need to trust your instincts to guard against phishers, scammers, cybercrimes, and other potential scams. This is especially true for small business owners whose personal finances are intricately tied into their new ventures. A single credit card processing mistake can cost you and your business vital funds essential to your livelihood. Being a small business owner might be attractive for prospective dates, but it’s even more attractive to scammers who know that you might not have the experience or funds to securely protect your bank and personal info.
You can do more than withhold information to ensure the safety of your money. One tip we advise is to look for sites that offer thorough encryption and safety measures. Go to a site’s About Us page and see how they refer to their security measures. Just five minutes of research can help you fully trust a site for whatever purposes you have in mind.
What Allied Wallet Can Do for You
Small businesses and international corporations turn to firms like Allied Wallet to provide encrypted data payment and credit card processing solutions. We work to provide thorough monitoring to keep the accounts of our merchants and their customers safe from potential fraudulent activity. Allied Wallet works in 164 currencies and helps safely process in 196 countries. Most importantly, we can set up time-tested and incredibly helpful credit card processing security measures in as little as 12 hours.
If you’re launching a dating app or site and want to provide security to your customers, consider working with us. We love educating our clients and their consumers about smart shopping choices and changes within the eCommerce market. More than education, however, Allied Wallet provides thorough and effective online financial security.
Fraud Scrub and Credit Card Processing Chargeback Protection
We pride ourselves on offering the most secure payment processing technology on the market. One of our most helpful features is Fraud Scrub. This technology helps determine if a credit card processing transaction is fraudulent or secure. This method employs real-time verification from the credit card company itself, measuring the collected data against IP addresses and history to ensure that it’s a legitimate purchase.
In addition to Fraud Scrub, Allied Wallet has chargeback prevention features in place. Chargebacks are some of the most damaging financial drains on a new or small business. With Level 1 PCI compliance and SHA-256 encrypted SSL, we protect sensitive information, along with helping to guarantee that purchases are legit.
A key part of our business model is providing top-notch customer service. Allied Wallet’s credit card processing services come with 24/7 account management and customer service. These services are extended to both our clients and their online customers to establish a harmonious long-term relationship. Contact Allied Wallet if you have any questions about our services or how to navigate the sometimes risky world of credit card processing and online dating sites.