Tinder expands ID checks amid rise in AI scams, dating crimes


The process requires a valid driver’s license or passport and a self-recorded video. A third-party vendor checks the birth date and whether the face in the video selfie matches the individual’s profile photos and ID. Once the user submits the information, it typically takes about one to two minutes to get approved. — Reuters

Tinder is expanding its identity verification programme at a time when artificial intelligence can make it hard to tell who’s real and crime is rising on dating apps.

Tinder, the world’s most popular dating platform, is rolling out the system in the US, the UK, Brazil and Mexico over the coming weeks and months. It’s already been testing the feature in Australia and New Zealand, where people who had been verified saw a 67% increase in matches compared to those who didn’t, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

The process requires a valid driver’s license or passport and a self-recorded video. A third-party vendor checks the birth date and whether the face in the video selfie matches the individual’s profile photos and ID. Once the user submits the information, it typically takes about one to two minutes to get approved. If they complete the ID and the photo verification, a blue check mark will appear on their profile.

“Some of the things that we’re seeing with Gen Z is a really deep need and desire for that authenticity,” said Tinder chief executive officer Faye Iosotaluno. Growing up in a “digital first” era creates a sense of wanting to know whether the person one is seeing on social media platforms is actually the person they will get, she said. “A key focus for us is how do we help bring people’s authentic selves to the forefront in their profiles and in their experience.”

A unit of Match Group Inc, Tinder has been developing its ID verification system for years, and first rolled it out in Japan in 2019. The company is gradually adding new countries to the list, but introducing identification tools is nuanced and complex. Recent developments have made the technology even more urgent.

The US Embassy in Colombia warned travellers in January that it’s seen an increase over the last year in reports of criminals using online dating apps to lure victims who they then drug and rob. Tinder notified its users in Colombia to “please remember to vet your matches, meet in public places and share plans with people you trust. If something feels off, you can end the date”.

Last September, Australia ordered dating apps to develop a voluntary code of conduct that addressed safety concerns, after a study from the Australian Institute of Criminology revealed 72% of the participants had experienced dating app facilitated sexual violence.

While romance scams have a long and dark history, modern technology has brought in a new dimension. Like in many other industries, artificial intelligence has also become a real concern in the dating world. In a scheme known as pig butchering, fraudsters are using images generated by AI to develop unique dating profiles and trick people into handing over their money. In 2022 alone, romance scams resulted in victims losing US$1.3bil (RM6.23bil), according to the the US Federal Trade Commission.

Match has made attracting Gen Z and female users a priority in order to maintain a healthy ecosystem on the app. The Dallas-based company has launched splashy subway and social media ad campaigns in an effort to rebrand itself and move beyond being “just an app for hookups”, to one where people can also build real connections. The company also wants to make sure those connections are safe.

“People want to feel safe and confident when connecting and communicating with their matches, and we applaud Tinder for giving users this additional option to help confirm their match is the person in their profile,” said Pamela Zaballa, CEO of No More, an organisation that fights to end sexual violence, in a statement provided through Match. – Bloomberg

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