According to the results of the Kaspersky survey, the scammers who can be encountered on the dating apps represent a real obstacle for Italians who wish to search for their soul mate online. In particular, the 38% of Italian respondents are afraid to use them precisely because he fears he may be duped by scammers, while 37% do not trust of the people met through these applications. Looking at the Italians targeted by cybercriminals through dating apps, only 9% responded positively while 32% said they had come into contact with malicious people but then managed to avoid the scam.
Millions of people are using dating apps and social media to find a partner all over the world. Often, however, what they find is not love, but malicious people aiming for their money. Kaspersky knows that cybercriminals exploit these services, such as dating apps, because they understand that the search for interpersonal bonds is a factor that can be easily leveraged to achieve their goals.
The different types of dating app scams
Between different types of scams which can be found in dating apps, Italian users have encountered catfishing more often (54%) followed by malicious links or attachments (20%) e identity theft (18%).
Furthermore, the survey revealed how paying attention and knowing the tactics of scammers helps users not to fall into the trap of malicious people. For example, not being persuaded to pay money prevented 54% of Italians from being scammed while paying attention and realizing that the profile was fake avoided nasty surprises for 47% of the interviewees. 43%, on the other hand, did not follow up on suspicious messages while 9% doubted when they refused to make a video call.
An additional problem for dating apps is the lack of privacy. In fact, 23% of Italian respondents fear that their personal data will be disclosed online while 14% of users have removed their profile from the dating app to keep their personal information private.
The statements of Kaspersky experts
“Online dating can be considered a risky adventure because there is very little information available about the other person. However, keeping an eye out for red flags and paying attention to your match behavior can help avoid nasty surprises. In case you get a request for money or personal details already on the first or second online appointment, it would be better not to trust and perhaps ask yourself if it is safe to continue the conversation. In addition, taking security measures can be useful to keep your online experience safe and enjoyable “, commented David Jacoby, Kaspersky’s secutiry researcher.
“Anyone who signs up for a dating app is, in principle, willing to open up and reveal their personal information. After all, to get to know each other you have to be willing to share details about yourself. When this vulnerability is exploited, the risk is to be deeply hurt. In a live meeting it is assumed that you can recognize if someone has good or bad intentions. But even then it’s possible to be wrong, because experienced scammers can disguise themselves incredibly well. Furthermore, new technologies play an ambivalent role. On the one hand, they are the most widely used means of communication and many people now know how to protect themselves. On the other hand, there is an awareness that there are many sophisticated ways to abuse it.
“To protect yourself it is important to be able to recognize what the goals of the scammers are. Money? Data? An identity to steal? Or do they want to stalk you or emotionally blackmail you?
“A scammer could ask for different types of personal information: about your financial situation, health status, a recent major life event, employer, and business location. But it could also require intimate photos, friend requests to your contacts, secrets or pain points, just to name a few. In these situations, a question must be asked, namely: why is this information important to the other person? We need to be very cautious, and if we feel a feeling of discomfort about the other person it is always better to stop contact “, commented therapists Birgitt Hölzel and Stefan Ruzas from the Liebling + Schatz practice in Munich.
4 tips to avoid dating app scams:
To avoid online dating scams with dating apps, Kaspersky recommends:
- Always check the privacy settings of your social media accounts and dating apps, to make sure that sensitive data, such as your home address or workplace, is not made public.
- To reduce the risk of doxing, you can do a little check by searching for your name on Google, simply imagining that you are looking for information on your account and see what you can find: there is the risk of being surprised.
- Use an effective security solution that offers advanced protection across multiple devices. Kaspersky Security Cloud helps manage apps and remove permissions when not needed, as well as protect against phishing and other threats.
- Don’t share your phone number or contact from a messaging app. It is safer to use the messaging platforms built into dating apps, at least until you are sure that you can trust the person you are chatting with.
The full report is available here.