Friday, September 29, 2023

Hinge plans to add video verification feature as ‘romantic scams’ ramp up

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Match Group dating app Hinge will introduce a new verification feature next month that will allow users to prove who they say they are by filming a short video selfie, wired reports. The optional feature will prompt users to record a short clip, which Match Group will then compare to the photos posted to their profiles using a combination of machine learning tools and human moderation. If a user passes the test, their profile will receive a “Verified” badge, providing additional assurance to potential daters.

The feature’s launch comes as the amount of money lost as part of the so-called “romantic scams” skyrockets. In February, the FTC reported that people lost a record $547 million to these scams in 2021, an 80 percent increase from the previous year. The exact details of the scams vary, but often involve asking for help while claiming to be suffering from a financial or health crisis, or needing money to claim an inheritance or close an important business deal. .

“We are committed to investing in new updates and technologies that prevent harm to our daters”

Scammers can also use dating apps to encourage their victims to “invest” in cryptocurrencies, while actually having their money transferred to illegal cryptocurrency exchanges, The New York Times reports. “A growing trend in 2021 was for scammers to use romance as a hook to trick people into fake investments, especially cryptocurrency,” the FTC says, noting that $139 million worth of cryptocurrency was reported as lost to romance scams last year.

“As romantic scammers find new ways to cheat people, we are committed to investing in new updates and technologies that prevent harm to our daters,” said Jarryd Boyd, director of brand communications at Hinge. After its first launch next month, Hinge says the video verification feature should be available worldwide in December.

By relying on video rather than photographic selfies, as many of these other services do, Hinge’s verification process should, in theory, be harder to trick. But a privacy and security researcher quoted by wired suggested that the rise of deepfake technology could eventually allow scammers to trick Hinge’s system.

These issues suggest that potential daters should exercise caution when chatting with strangers online, especially if they make up excuses not to meet in person or want you to transfer money. If you match up with someone who claims to be a former J-Pop star and a model who is studying abroad and looking for love, it might be a little too good to be true.

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