Social Security Numbers Revealed on Dating Apps #nigeria | #nigeriascams | #lovescams

Despite the majority of dating app users reporting being scammed, most will continue to use the platforms, a new report this week found.

When they do, important identity information like Social Security numbers and banking information can be lost and stolen in mere seconds.

A new report by identity theft protection brand IDShield discovered a whopping seven out of 10 dating app users had been scammed.

The study, which surveyed nearly 300 people who used dating apps over the past three years, revealed even among those who had been tricked, nearly all, or 93 percent, would still return to the apps.

“Our survey shows that most people swiping right and left are getting swindled, but they keep coming back for more,” said Warren Schlichting, LegalShield CEO, in a statement. “Love may be blind, but users don’t have to be blindsided if they take steps to protect themselves before setting up a profile.”

Among those victimized, the financial costs could be severe, with six in 10 reporting they lost more than $10,000.

Social Security numbers were especially at risk, as 69 percent of respondents had been asked to verify their identity on a dating app, and 65 percent ended up divulging their Social Security number.

Others ask their dating app matches to send money for a planned long-distance trip or tell them they’re experiencing some sudden financial emergency and need monetary help immediately.

Who’s More Likely To Get Scammed?

Looking at the data, men were more likely to be scammed than female dating app users, reporting scams 74 percent of the time compared to 61 percent of women.

There’s a good reason for that, according to Trevor Haywood, the CEO of scam private investigation agency Haywood Hunt & Associates. For one, men outnumber women on dating apps by as much as nine to 1, depending on the site.

“When you’re already at this kind of numbers disadvantage, it’s natural to let your guard down and work harder to pursue someone you may be interested in as you’re assuming there’s several other men vying for their attention,” Haywood told Newsweek.

Haywood said women who join dating apps, on the other hand, are generally wearier about who they talk to than men.

“We often hear about the safety of online dating, but it’s almost always focusing on women and very rarely on men,” Haywood said. “This has led men to be less cautious as most people assume these kinds of scams are only targeted at women. However, from the experience we’ve had with our clients, nothing could be farther from the truth.”

As technology advances, many singles are also concerned about how AI could be used in profiles, with 90 percent of respondents in the survey saying they’re suspicious their matches are AI-generated and only 56 percent say they trust dating apps’ AI safeguards.

“In the quest for love, dating apps have become prime targets for scammers. To stay safe, users must adapt, recognizing the evolving tactics of digital fraudsters,” said Steve Earls, IDShield’s head of consumer data security, in a statement. “With AI advancements, trusting instincts alone is risky. Treat every match as a potential threat, prioritizing personal security by guarding sensitive data and leveraging digital monitoring tools for added protection.”

According to Yoav Keren, CEO and co-founder of cybersecurity firm BrandShield, scammers are increasingly using generative AI to power fraud, allowing them to hide behind masked identities on dating sites.

They can also create fake apps and websites that impersonate legitimate dating sites. These then ask users to share private and sensitive information before joining.

To protect yourself, there are a range of things you should look out for. For one, Keren said to never click any suspicious links or share any personal information with someone you don’t know or trust.

“From using tools like ChatGPT to generate realistic, grammatically correct scripts to image generation tools to create deepfake photos, bad actors are executing these scams quicker than ever before and with unprecedented rates of success,” Keren told Newsweek.

This illustration shows a person looking at the OkCupid dating app on a smartphone in Los Angeles, on February 11, 2021. Dating app scams can lead to thousands of dollars lost and stolen identities.

CHRIS DELMAS/AFP via Getty Images