The dark side of dating apps


Nineteen percent of the respondents said they had been stalked on social media by a person they did not match with. — 123rf.com

BEYOND worrying about getting ghosted or bad dates, users of online dating services now have another concern – doxing – which could endanger their privacy.

In a survey involving dating apps, cybersecurity firm Kasperksy discovered that 22% of respondents in Asia Pacific had become a victim of this malicious act.

What’s worrying is that this is higher than the global average which stands at 16%. Kasperksy defines doxing as the act of exposing identifying information about someone online, including a person’s real name, home address, workplace, phone number and financial data.

This information is circulated online without the victim’s permission or knowledge.

The survey, Love In An Algorithmic Age, was conducted in June by market survey firm Sapio and commissioned by Kaspersky.

The firm engaged 18,000 people on the role of dating apps and the current state of technology and relationships.

The sample included 2,242 respondents from Asia Pacific.

“During the past few decades, the world has rapidly shifted towards digitalisation of everyday practices, including dating.

“However, with love transferring to the digital world, the gathering and public exposure of personal data has become a major concern,” the report said.

Another widespread problem is cyberstalking – 19% of respondents said they had been stalked on social media by a person they did not match with.

The respondents also reported that their partners shared screenshots of their conversation without consent (17%); threatened them with personal information they found online (14%); and leaked their intimate photos (11%).

However, the apps are popular, as 64% of respondents said it made dating easier.

“Indeed, social media and various apps have made dating much easier for us. “You might find the love of your life online but unfortunately, there are also bots and fraudsters looking for prey on dating platforms,” said Anna Larkina, a security expert at Kaspersky, in a statement.

This is exacerbated by people linking the social media account to their dating profile, revealing even more information about themselves.

However, a small percentage of users – 7% – were using dating apps to promote their social media accounts.

She advised users to avoid sharing personal identifying information like phone numbers, location data, and home or work address.

“Preventing threats at an early stage will let you enjoy online dating without any fears,” she added.

The need to educate users is becoming increasingly urgent as more people have started using dating apps for purposes other than finding a relationship.

The survey found that 8% of respondents worldwide used dating apps to find jobs and networking opportunities, with 66% of them saying they were successful in their endeavour.

This unorthodox use of dating apps was more popular in countries like China (23%), Indonesia (21%), the United Arab Emirates (19%), Egypt (18%) and India (15%).

Targeted and scammed

Globally, its survey found that 15% of people who use dating apps have been scammed through them while 31% weren’t scammed but have been contacted by scammers.In 21% of these cases, the scammer sent the user a link or an attachment.

Catfishing – using a fake profile to dupe another person – is the number one tactic with 51% of those targeted for scamming subjected to it.

In 29% of the cases, the user’s identity was stolen while 15% of them were blackmailed – unfortunately, in 40% of the cases, users sent the scammer money (as a gift for an injury or to pay for travel so they could meet).

Even worse, those aged 55 to 64 were more likely to send a fraudster money for travel, representing 20% of cases.

Other than not sharing too much info, Kaspersky also recommends deleting or hiding your profile if you are no longer using the service.

It’s also best to use the built-in messenger in dating apps, it says, adding that you should only move to other messengers if you trust your match.

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