One in two singles in Singapore has encountered scammers on dating apps in the search for love, a recent survey has shown.
The problem is more prevalent in other countries across the region, with more than half of singles in Malaysia, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Thailand facing the same issue.
The results of the Annual Singles Dating Survey showed that 27 per cent of singles have seen more fake profiles on dating apps, and 50 per cent of singles here have encountered scammers on dating apps.
The survey was conducted by matchmaking company Lunch Actually and surveyed 3,500 singles across Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Thailand.
It sought to find out how they navigated dating during the pandemic, how it had changed their mindset and expectations and what the future of dating looks like.
The online survey was conducted over two weeks from Oct 12 to Oct 26, and respondents were sent the survey via e-mail or social media.
Lunch Actually chief executive and co-founder Violet Lim said: “A lot of these scammers are not operating on their own, and a lot of them are actually syndicates. They would also know that during the pandemic, there would be more singles who probably might start using apps as well.”
The survey also showed that 56 per cent of singles in Malaysia and 59 per cent of those in Hong Kong encountered scammers on dating apps.
This figure was even higher in Indonesia and Thailand at 72 per cent, where almost three in four singles encountered scammers.
Ms Lim said the scammers often create a fake profile, usually pretending to be engineers or military men from Britain, and choose photos of average-looking people to avoid suspicion.
To avoid falling prey to such scams, Ms Lim suggested that singles try to arrange video chats or face-to-face meetings, as scammers would refrain from showing themselves.
The findings also revealed 78 per cent of singles here are using dating apps this year, an increase from 51 per cent last year.
In light of the new trends, Ms Lim said her company recently released a Lunch Actually App to allow singles to enjoy the convenience of a dating app with manual verification.
Clients will be able to arrange for virtual meetings with consultants, and upcoming features will also allow them to meet their match via video.
Ms Lim said: “We realise that there’s an opportunity for us to help singles in terms of providing an app that will help them to meet people quickly, but at the same time, helping to ensure that this person is real and has been screened.”